Safety measures in place to capture Sylvester the lion - SANParks

2016-03-30 16:24
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Beaufort West – South African National Parks (SANParks) assured the public on Wednesday that measures were in place to safely capture the lion that escaped from the Karoo National Park earlier this week.

"We should be aware of the reality that such an animal can pose a very real danger to human life. Our actions in this regard are in line with international norms and standards," said managing executive, Wanda Mkutshulwa.

"We are aware that some members of the public have been alarmed by reports that the animal will be euthanised, but no decision can be taken until the animal is safely captured," she said.

Reports that the animal would be put down were met with a public outcry and a petition to save the lion, now known as Sylvester.

Mkutshulwa said SANParks were dealing with a dangerous and constantly changing situation, meaning that decisions related to the capture of the lion would be informed by the situation at the moment of capture.

The 4-year-old lion escaped on Monday through a gap in the perimeter fence caused by water erosion after the recent heavy rains. Last year, the lion escaped through a hole under the fence, also caused by a heavy flow of water.

Roaming a mountainous area

The hole was underneath the fence on the western side of the park, next to Fraserburg Road, and the suspicion was that the lion made its way through a storm water pipe to one of the farms in the area.

A 14-person tracking team, bolstered by aerial support, has been searching for the escaped animal in the Beaufort West area since Monday.

SANParks said it would consider various measures as soon as the lion was captured.

Some of the measures under consideration included bringing the lion back to the park and looking at improving fencing and preventative measures, trans-locating the lion to another national park or donating the lion to another state-owned or private conservation entity.

Mkutshulwa said the park would euthanise the lion if the damage caused was massive and included loss of human life. The lion was currently roaming around a remote mountainous area and it was hoped it would not encounter humans.

Read more on:    sanparks  |  animals

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