/ 17 September 2007

Four lions escape from Kruger park

Three lions which escaped from the Kruger National Park on Friday were still on the run, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency said on Monday.

Spokesperson Jimmy Masombuka said four lions escaped through a fence in the park on Friday and authorities had been notified by residents from the town of Emdlankomo in the Nelspruit area.

One lion had been found dead.

”We started to trace them from Friday during the night and then up until Saturday morning,” he said.

Masombuka said rail authorities notified the agency on Saturday to say one of the lions had been knocked over by a train.

”We went to investigate and found one lion dead. It was a male lion. We saw the other three running away,” he said.

He said while park and agency officials were searching for the three lions, community members had said they had originally seen five lions.

Residents in the area had been warned to lock up their cattle at night. The carcass of one cow had been found so far, he said.

”They are much more active during the night, during the day it’s too hot,” said Masombuka.

He said the search had proven difficult because the lions were ”very clever” and there was a number of trees in the area.

”They can smell you at a distance and they hide themselves very quickly,” he said.

He said it was hoped that the lions would ”just run back” to the park. – Sapa