Cape Town - SANParks says the four lions, believed to have escaped the Kruger National Park on Sunday 9 July, are in the south of the Crocodile gorge, with operations to retrieve them currently underway.
SANParks General Manager - Veterinary Wildlife Services, Dr Markus Hofmeyr says "The lions are currently believed to be in very rocky, mountainous and thickly wooded uninhabited areas south of the Crocodile gorge, and the MTPA have very experienced staff dealing with the situation, and together with SANParks every effort will be made to locate and capture them."
“SANParks is working very closely with MTPA officials to secure the capture of the lions and our rangers, air wing and veterinarians are on immediate standby to provide any further support required by MTPA to capture the lions”.
Hofmeyr says since Monday to teams have made every effort lure and catch the four lions that were first sighted wandering near the N4 / Crocodile River gorge area, which is managed by MTPA.
A group of lions went on the prowl in May and were successfully captured without incident, but Hofmeyr says, "It is unlikely that the four lions that have been spotted in the Matsulu area are the same as the lions that escaped two months ago in the Komatipoort area."
SANParks says the lion population in the park has grown exponentially and it attributes "young males looking to own new territories within the park" as a reason for the sudden increase of lions moving beyond the park's borders.
"Naturally occurring factors like the drought over the last two years, an abundance of animals for predators like lions to feed on, and an increase in their population" are all contributing factors says SANParks.
Visitors are being advised to treat the animals as dangerous and they should not be approached or interfered with in any way or for any reason.
Sightings of the missing lions or any sign of their presence they should immediately make contact with MTPA officials at 083 626 6792, SANParks on 076 801 9679 or 013 735 0197/4064 or SAPS on 080010111.
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