Park Owner Cremates His Four Big Cats to Prevent Poachers from Harvesting Their Bones for Witch Doctors’ Rituals
Jamie Pyatt, Daily Mail, May 28, 2108
A distraught predator park owner cremated his three lions and a rare tiger poisoned by sick poachers who planned to cut off their heads and paws for witch doctors to make black magic potions.
Tearful Justin Fernandes, 32, posted an emotional video recording the heartbreaking scenes as he discovered first his white lion Elvis in its final moments and then his golden tabby tiger Kai dead nearby.
The Facebook footage of devastated Justin shows how he then discovers two more of his lions, Hercules and Taariq, in another enclosure who had also been fed poison.
He discovered he had lost all four big cats in the early hours of Friday morning at the Jugomaro Predator Park in Limpopo, South Africa, after going out with a torch to investigate why his wolf was howling.
His predator park Facebook page was filled with messages of support from all over the world and he decided to do a live feed of the funeral after building four deep graves for each of his beloved beasts.
He had to fill each with a wooden pyre to cremate Elvis, Kai, Hercules & Taariq to prevent the poachers returning and digging up the bones which are valuable to witch doctors to create ‘muti’ potions.
Nearly 100 people drove out to the remote park which was due to open in a fortnight but was struck by poachers before they could complete their full security arrangements to protect their lions and tigers.
Last night he posted a second emotional video showing the four blazing pits in which the big cats he described as ‘his babies’ were being burned.
Justin and his family rescue the big cats from people who buy them as pets then realise they can no longer look after them.
They have already sold one house to pay for the care of the animals.
Justin told mourners: ‘There is a big market for their bones and I am going to destroy my cats completely so they go nowhere but here.
‘They tried to take their claws and teeth for black magic which is one of the sickest things I have ever heard of in my life.
‘All of these cats had no hatred in them and hearts like puppies but we are mourning these cats today because of the most evil money grabbing people you will ever meet in your life and I have a hatred for them.
‘They are probably in a better place right now looking down on their lion and tiger brothers and sisters from above and keeping an eye out for them and protecting them from these bastards ever returning here again.
‘They are the titans of Jugomaro looking down now to protect all of those left behind.
‘These people cut off their heads and paws for the teeth and claws and sell them for ridiculous amounts of money for so called traditional healers to make potions that people think carry the animals power in them.
In a video posted yesterday his tears flowed when he realised nothing could be done to save his cats who had been fed a poison so deadly a teaspoon of it can kill a rhinoceros
‘Hopefully my lions and my tiger will be the last to lost to poaching for the black magic market and we will be really protecting the rest and saving more big cats to bring them here to live out their lives in safety.
‘If any poacher comes within 50 yards radius in the future we will know about it and I promise they will be going home in body bags. Our lions and tiger knew no evil but they came face to face with it right here.
‘I built this graveyard for our big cats when we moved in two weeks ago but we expected them to pass away with age and did not expect we would have to be using it this quickly and for the reasons we have.
‘This is probably the hardest day I am ever going to have in my life – goodbye my lovely boys’ he said.
In tears, game ranger Justin set fire to the funeral pyres, and said: ‘Elvis, Kai, Hercules and Taariq. I miss you my boys, so so much. I will love you always until we meet again. May your souls roar and soar free’.
He said afterwards:’Thankfully we got to them before they were mutilated which is one blessing as that would have been too much. We were still in the process of setting up the park so were not that secure yet.
‘But we are now and we will be opening our gates soon and our big cats will have the best protection possible’ he said.
He had bottle fed all four predators since birth and said that they had been fed liver poisoned with Temik which is known a Two-Step as after swelling it it is said after two steps you can die.
It is more poisonous that arsenic and a teaspoon can kill a rhino.
Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said officers had found meat at the scene which may have been laced with a poisonous substance but no arrests had been made.
He said: ‘The police investigations including the forensic ones will determine the exact cause of death to these animals. The suspects in this matter are unknown as yet’.
Justin and his family have just three lions left now but have 10 tigers and two caracals and a wolf who were all rescued and given new lives and he has set up a donations page to help them rescue more big cats.
Donations to help the Jugomaro Predator Park can me made here.