Search is on af­ter four lions es­cape from Kruger Park

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

RANGERS were search­ing yes­ter­day for four male lions that es­caped from the Kruger Na­tional Park, a spokesman said.

The lions were seen late on Sun­day near a road a few kilo­me­tres from the park, SANParks spokesman Wil­liam Mabasa said by phone.

It was not known how the lions got out of the park, most of which is fenced.

The Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga prov­ince, in which part of the Kruger Park is lo­cated, said it was help­ing rangers and po­lice in their search.

“We urge the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties to be alert and to in­form us of any sight­ings,” said Jo­hannes Nobunga, the agency’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“The ter­rain in which the search is be­ing con­ducted poses some chal­lenges for the team,” he said.

“How­ever, we will con­tinue to work with farm own­ers and the com­mu­nity in the area to pro­vide us with any in­for­ma­tion that will as­sist us with this op­er­a­tion.”

The es­cape of the lions fol­lows that of five lions in May.

Four of them were cap­tured and taken back to the park, but the fifth one has not been found. Mabasa said it may have been poached, or re­turned to the park by it­self.

Lions oc­ca­sion­ally wan­der out of the Kruger Park, a wildlife area the size of Is­rael.

“Some­times an en­tire year passes with­out any re­ports of lions es­cap­ing, and in other years we have a few cases of them es­cap­ing,” Mabasa said.

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