Rogue KZN lion killed

2020-05-18 14:15
A file image of a lion.

A file image of a lion.

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The lion that has been killing livestock and terrorising communities around Dundee for months after escaping from a game reserve, has finally been killed by a local farmer.

KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube confirmed that Ezemvelo managers had briefed her about the incident.

“This morning, I received a report from our entity Ezemvelo Wildlife that a lion was killed by a farmer in Dundee near Nquthu.

“Although I am still awaiting a full report, I can confirm that this lion has been terrorising the community and killing the livestock since February this year,” she said on Sunday.

While one of Ezemvelo’s main tasks is to protect wildlife, Dube-Ncube said killing the animal was the last option as it had been terrorising communities for several months.

“Rural communities already under a huge yoke of poverty have had to bear the brunt of this lion which wiped away any possible reserves they have as the livestock is part of the economy of rural people.

“The seriousness of this matter prompted the department, through Ezemvelo Wildlife, to conduct an investigation to determine whether it was necessary to issue a permit to take out the predator.

“A permit for depredation purpose was issued to the local farmer whose livestock was also attacked by the lion. It is the same farmer who killed the lion this morning as it posed a danger to the community and livestock,” the MEC said.

In February, a farmer in Dundee told The Witness that the lion, which was spotted by local farmers after they had placed motion-sensitive cameras around their properties, had killed one of her calves and attempted to kill another calf a few days later.

Despite local farmers setting up a team to search for the lion, all attempts to get the big cat were unsuccessful.

It has become common for lions to escape from KZN’s reserves into the nearby villages.

In November 2018, The Witness reported about a Vryheid man, Sabelo Mbense, who was lucky to survive a lion attack in the farming village of Gluckstadt.

While Mbense escaped with bruises under his right armpit, the animal was never found.

With Covid-19 having left most game reserves, including those under Ezemvelo, with little resources to secure their properties, there are fears of a spike in wild animal escapes.

However, Dube-Ncube assured communities living next to game reserves that everything would be done to ensure that they were protected from wild animal attacks.

“Once again, I wish to assure the farming community, traditional leaders, leaders of society and local communities that their safety and the protection of their livestock is our major priority. We are encouraged by their co-operation,” she said.

Ezemvelo, together with the Peace Parks Foundation and the National Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, had already started installing a number of security technologies in games reserves such as the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

“Regarding dealing with poaching, we have decided to invest in Smart Park connectivity and the integration of systems to ensure early detection and rapid response.

“One of the key instruments being used is the installation of infrared trap cameras linked directly to the Parks Operational Centre,” Dube-Ncube said.

By late on Sunday afternoon it was not yet clear from which game reserve the lion had escaped.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  lion
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