In August 2019, three suspects were arrested for being in illegal possession of a lion cub that was dubbed Simba. The little lion was found in a house in Athlone, on the Cape Flats, and Sulaiman Effendi, Shurud Jacobs and Moegamat Simons were charged with the illegal possession of an endangered species.

Their case is currently ongoing at the Wynberg Magistrate’s court. One of the key aspects in the investigation is just how the cat was smuggled out of Thabazimbi, in the Limpopo Province. On the very same day that Simba was rescued – on August 21 – a statement was released by police, announcing that he was relocated to a place of safety with CapeNature.

Since then, Facebook page Save The Beasts. Stop The Slaughter has stated that it is suspicious of CapeNature, as there has been no news of Simba’s wellbeing, but plenty of news on the proceedings of the four suspects in court for his possession.

According to Durban investigative journalist Simon Bloch, a “reliable source” has confirmed that Simba was put down at a Wellington veterinary practice in August.

“A reliable source mentioned to me that Simba had been ‘put down’ by a vet in Wellington back in August, possibly on the same day (August 21) he was handed to Cape Nature for safe-keeping,” Bloch wrote in a Facebook post.

Bloch also alleges that there may hase been a breach in conduct in how Simba was handled, and as a result, a police investigation was launched against CapeNature.

“SAPS confirmed a case was opened at Wellington SAPS under the charge of  ‘without reasonable cause administers to any animal any poisonous or injuries (sic) drug or substance’. The case docket is still under investigation,” he wrote.

CapeNature has confirmed that it has euthanised Simba the lion cub. “The wild lion cub was euthanised by a professional veterinarian with CapeNature’s support and sanction,” spokesperson Loren Povitt said during an interview with CapeTalk. “It was euthanised the same day that it was handed over to CapeNature in August.”

*This is a developing story.

Picture: SAPS

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