Game rangers are searching for a lion which escaped from a wildlife park in South Africa’s Western Cape province. It is believed to have left the park, near the small town of Beaufort West, through a hole under the fence.
“A helicopter is on standby and rangers are walking around with attacker dogs in case they came across the lion,” South African National Parks official Fayrouch Ludick told the BBC. A tourist was killed last week by a lion at a game park near Johannesburg. The American woman was mauled after the lion jumped through a car window which was open in breach of park rules.
Ms Ludick said park officials were confident that the three-year-old male lion, which escaped from the Karoo National Park, would be recaptured. “The spoor has been found by the trackers, but it’s just a matter of keeping up with it through the mountains and ravines,” she said, South Africa’s Eyewitness News reports. The Karoo National Park is in a sparsely populated area surrounded mainly by farms. Ms Ludick warned people not to approach the lion if they saw it.
“Can’t really judge the temperament of the lion because it is wild and it stays in a national park of under 90,000 hectares of land. It is not tame and has no exposure to humans often so there is no telling what it can do if it does come into contact with a human,” Ms Ludick told the BBC.
News of the lion’s escape is spreading on local social media under #missinglion. The lion was believed to have escaped on Friday, and a farmer who spotted lion tracks on his farm alerted park officials, South Africa’s News24 website reports. Park officials believe a hole formed under the fence after a heavy flow of water, making it possible for the lion to escape, it reports.