Three lions spotted in Mpumalanga farms

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Komatipoort - At least three of the five lions that are reported to have escaped from the Kruger National Park have been seen roaming streets of Nkomazi, in Mpumalanga.

South African National Parks (SANParks) officials have managed to capture one of the five lions that escaped at the Kruger National Park, with the other four wild cats still at large.

According to community members, five lions were spotted in farms in Komatipoort on Monday after escaping from the Kruger National Park earlier in the day.

Spokesman for the Kruger National Park, William Mabasa, said Kruger National Park authorities, who are being assisted by the SA Police Service, have not yet determined how the lions escaped but their first mission is to locate all of them. 

“We have not yet captured them, but by midday three lions were spotted in the farms near Komatipoort,” he said.

Mabasa said while there are reports that five lions had escaped, that number has not been officially verified.

“But we cannot rule out that they are five, and yes at some point they might have separated. 

“It has been a while since we had incidents where lions escaped from the park. For now we are trying to locate them, capture them and return them to the park and we will then [investigate] how they escaped.

“What we can say to members of the public is that if they see the lions, they should immediately report to the police or alert rangers or officials from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency,” Mabasa said. 

Mduduzi Mashaba, a farm worker in the area, said together with his colleagues, they have been living in fear after hearing of the news of the escaped lions.

"If they do not catch them, I’m not going to work tomorrow (Wednesday). Now we scared of just any sound in the farm - either a rat or something moving we run away. We trying to work in teams so that we can scare the lions away if we see them,” he said.

Spokesman for the Mpumalanga police, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said they launched the search along the R571 Mananga road to make sure people's lives were safe. 

“Remember ours is to make sure the people are safe, we started [searching for them] around the R571 Mananga road and for now, we have not found anything there, which makes us to believe the lions are just around Komatipoort, not far from the park.”

According to earlier reports, the lions have already attacked and killed one cow on their path. –

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