July 28, 2010 / 7:03 PM / 9 years ago

Escaped tiger found after massive South Africa search

A tiger looks on as it rests at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary near Bethlehem, South Africa April 26, 2010.REUTERS/Peter Andrews

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Rangers captured an escaped tiger at a South African farm on Wednesday after a two-day helicopter search that had dominated news broadcasts.

The tiger was fed raw beef and led away from the farm about 70 km (45 miles) east of the country’s biggest city of Johannesburg, eNews Channel reported from the site.

“He is stressed out. He has had two lovely pieces of meat now,” the tiger’s owner, Goosey Fernandes, told the broadcaster.

Fernandes said he called the tiger out of from where it was hiding. The tired and bruised animal then walked slowly to the owner and licked him on the cheek.

The 140 kg (310 lb) tiger named Panjo escaped on Tuesday morning from the back of a pickup truck while it was being driven to a vet.

Tigers, native to Asia, are usually only found in zoos in South Africa, which is home to numerous species of big cats.

Fernandes said the tiger would be returning to his home at a private game reserve.

The head of a private security network coordinating the search had told Reuters it was likely the biggest tiger hunt Africa has ever seen.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Alison Williams

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