7 lions shot after escaping from reserve twice, killing 10 sheep

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  • A pride of seven "damage-causing" lions was shot dead after they escaped from the Karoo National Park twice in 24 hours.
  • The lions killed 10 sheep on a neighbouring farm and later returned to the carcasses.
  • The park said the lions were put down because they posed a danger to humans and livestock.

A pride of seven lions from the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape was put down on Tuesday after two escapes in a 24-hour period.

In the first incident, in the early hours of Monday morning, three lions from the pride of seven escaped from the park's northern boundary along the Nuweveld Mountain range onto private property, said Rey Thakhuli, SANParks' acting head of communications.

READ | Conservationist West Mathewson killed by his lions as wife allegedly watched helplessly

They subsequently killed 10 sheep on the neighbouring farm.

"Rangers were immediately despatched and succeeded in chasing the animals back to the park. They then slept on the mountain in case the lions returned to the carcasses, which they did during the night," Thakhuli said.

He said SANParks' predator management policy made provision for the control of damage-causing animals.

"In an attempt to deter human-predator conflict and conservation, a management decision was taken to react quickly and put down the entire pride.

Damage-causing animals

"Because of the very difficult mountainous terrain, rangers could not get close to the animals on foot. A helicopter was subsequently brought in to assist in putting down the two sub-adult males, three sub-adult females and two adult females."

Thakhuli said the pride was considered a "damage-causing group of animals" who was concentrated in the high mountainous areas next to the northern boundary of the park, causing a serious risk to human life and livestock.

Park management was in constant contact with the property owner, who was kept up to date with proceedings, he added.

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