The four male lions that escaped from the Kruger National Park on Sunday night have been sighted‚ as efforts to return them to the park continue on Tuesday.
Speaking to TimesLIVE‚ an individual involved in the search said that the lions have been spotted in the Crocodile Gorge Conservancy‚ a nature reserve in the Nelspruit area.
The individual‚ who wishes to remain anonymous‚ assured residents there is no need to worry.
“The lions are not close to people and all farmers and workers in the area have been alerted to stay vigilant while the search carries on‚” he said.
“We have rangers walking and driving around the area‚” he added.
In May‚ five lions escaped from the park‚ also near Nelspruit. Four of the lions were recovered after a long search and the park said the fifth may have wandered back to the park.
The Kruger National Park is the largest park in the country and is home to 1‚800 lions.
Asked whether there is an issue with the fencing around the park‚ SANParks spokesperson William Mabasa told TimesLIVE that fencing is not the problem.
“If that was the case‚ all the animals would be escaping‚” Mabasa said.
“Openings in fences are created in various ways. When there are storms in the area‚ the banks of the streams and rivers erode and create openings or smaller animals such as warthogs dig under the fence‚” he added.
Parts of the park experienced flooding earlier in the year due to heavy rainfall.
Mabasa said that it is in the nature of male lions to roam across far distances.
“When male cubs become old enough‚ they leave their pride to establish new territory‚ which could result in them escaping from the park‚” he said.
SANParks promised to provide an update on the search later on Tuesday.
Source: Tiso Black Star Group.