Lions ‘not af­fected’ by killing

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

WHEN hu­man re­mains were dis­cov­ered at the Sibuya Game Re­serve on Mon­day July 2, it was de­ter­mined that the vic­tim had been killed by lions.

“Some­time dur­ing the night of Sun­day [July 1] and the early hours of Mon­day [July 2] a group of at least three poach­ers en­tered Sibuya Game Re­serve,” Sibuya owner Nick Fox said.

He fur­ther re­ported that they were armed with a high­pow­ered ri­fle with a si­lencer, an axe, wire cut­ters and with food sup­plies to last them a num­ber of days.

“All the hall­marks of a gang in­tent on killing rhino and re­mov­ing their horns,” Fox said.

Early on the Mon­day anti-poach­ing dogs were the first to alert any­one that some­thing was amiss and, at about 4.30pm on Tues­day July 3, while on a game drive, a field guide alerted the anti-poach­ing unit about what ap­peared to be hu­man re­mains as well as other items in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity of the lions.

Fox was im­me­di­ately called to the scene and he called the In­dalo As­so­ci­a­tion of Eastern Cape Game Re­serves anti-poach­ing clus­ter and the po­lice. It now ap­pears that the poach­ers walked into a pride of six lions and that some of them, if not all, had been killed.

As it was al­ready dark, Fox had to wait un­til the next morn­ing to ar­range for the re­serve’s vet to dart the en­tire pride of lions to en­able po­lice foren­sic teams and the anti-poach­ing unit to comb the im­me­di­ate area for clues.

Af­ter the news was pub­lished on Face­book many peo­ple ap­peared more con­cerned with what was go­ing to hap­pen to the lions now they had tasted hu­man flesh. When they were lo­cated, how­ever, the lions showed no ag­gres­sion to­ward the ve­hi­cle trans­port­ing the vet and were anaes­thetised with­out in­ci­dent.

Fox wanted to as­sure vis­i­tors to Sibuya that there was no dan­ger from any of the big cats.

“The gen­eral con­sen­sus in the game in­dus­try,” wrote Fox, “is that lions view a gameview­ing ve­hi­cle con­tain­ing peo­ple as some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent from in­di­vid­u­als who are walk­ing on the ground. At Sibuya Game Re­serve we only view game from spe­cialised game-view­ing ve­hi­cles and not on foot due to the ex­tremely dense bush and thick for­est on the re­serve.

“Over the last few days game guides and anti-poach­ing staff have con­tin­ued to drive gameview­ing ve­hi­cles in the vicin­ity of this pride to check for any be­havioural dif­fer­ences and they have con­firmed that to date there have been none.”

Fox said that the rangers and staff at Sibuya would con­tinue to be ex­tremely vig­i­lant and re­main pos­i­tive that this in­ci­dent will not ne­ces­si­tate any changes to the sta­tus quo of the lions.

UN­CHANGED: The lions at Sibuya Game Re­serve at Ken­ton-on-Sea seem to be to­tally un­fazed that they are be­lieved to have killed poach­ers on the re­serve last week. Many Face­book users ex­pressed con­cern about the fu­ture of the pride of lions af­ter the...

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