Singles 05

In July 2010 the massive search for Panjo, a pet Bengal tiger that went missing, grabbed South Africa’s attention. The 18-month-old Panjo had escaped from the bakkie of his owner, Mr Goosey Fernandes, on the evening of 26 July, somewhere between Bronkhorstspruit in Mpumalanga and Springs in Gauteng, where Fernandes was heading to take his tiger to the vet. The three-day search started around the farm areas on the outskirts of small-town Springs. Once the missing tiger made headlines several “spottings” led a search team, now consisting of helicopters and a light aircraft, and among others, highly-skilled animal trackers from the Kruger National Park and Animal Planet, along the route Fernandes travelled the night Panjo disappeared without a trace. Finally, late on the evening of 28 July, where a 23-year-old man had earlier reported a spotting along the R25 about 10km from the Verena-township and 40km from Bronkhorstspruit, a dog came to Panjo’s rescue. Zingela, a Weimaraner dog trained to track predators, spotted Panjo in the darkness in dense bush a few meters from the road. Zingela’s owner, mr. Conrad de Rosner, an expert animal tracker from the Sabi Sands Nature Reserve, noted the tiger was unscathed but starving and Panjo was quickly captured by his owner who lured him with some meat. An emotional reunion followed when Panjo was returned to the family’s farm in Groblersdal in the Limpopo province. South Africa remains intrigued by Panjo the overnight celebrity, who continues to dominate headlines.Set-up portrait of Panjo back home, lying on the couch, the day after he was found. (Although it’s an old image, I included it because I have won many awards with it.)

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