The lion that has been missing from the Karoo National Park for the past month has been found, and is now being temporarily held in a jail cell in the Northern Cape town of Sutherland.
While he was missing the lion reportedly ate seven sheep as “padkos” during his 300-kilometre journey of freedom. “He has been captured… and is safe and sound,” SANParks general manager for media, PR and stakeholder relations, Reynold “Rey T” Thakhuli, told News24.
The three-year-old male lion went missing on February 15, and was darted from a helicopter when he was located in Sutherland. He is being kept in a cell there as SANParks is still waiting on a crate to be made available to transport him back home.
“He’s certainly not a criminal,” Thakhuli said.
Previously, a lion named Sylvester had held the record for the longest disappearance from the Karoo National Park. He escaped in 2016, and managed to evade capture for two weeks.
In March 2016, his collar alerted authorities to a second escape, and he was returned to the park after only three days with plans to euthanise him. Sylvester’s life was saved after public outcry condemned the park’s plan to euthanise the big cat, and he was moved to Addo in the Eastern Cape, where he has since fathered two cubs.
The recently escaped lion now holds the record, with almost a full month on the run before being tracked down.