South African authorities recapture two stray lions

FILE PHOTO: Lions are pictured in Lion Park in Lanseria, northwest of Johannesburg. REUTERS/Markus Gilliar/Pool

South African police on Friday said two stray lions in the North West province have been recaptured by officials from the Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development.

The police said that the first lion escaped from a trailer on Friday afternoon while in transit between Wolmaransstad and Makwassie while another lion was spotted roaming near the small town of Ottosdal.

The police thanked the motorists who alerted the authorities.

The news came in the wake of reports that a pride of 14 lions was on the loose close to a mining community bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park in Limpopo province.

The provincial administration said it had assigned a number of rangers to observe the pride as officials decide where to send the lions.

The park’s spokesperson Ike Phaahla told local news channel, SABC, that any animal outside the park is the responsibility of the provincial authority.

A meeting between the government and park officials is reported to have resolved that the stray lions must be captured and then released into the Kruger National Park.

Phaahla, however, disputed the viability of that decision noting that the dominant lions will chase away new ones forcing them to continually break out.

The park has also sought to reassure the public and visitors that it is safe.

On Wednesday, the park confirmed that the two-year-old child of a staff member was killed by a leopard.

Two suspected leopards were subsequently shot dead following the incident. The park said the killing of the child was probably down to the adult leopard’s opportunistic instinct.

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