A three-year-old male lion is currently roaming the town of Beaufort West after he escaped from the Karoo National Park over the weekend. The lion was first spotted on the northern boundary of the park on Friday, February 15, and cyclists and hikers have been urged to remain cautious in the area.
A marathon being held in the area had to have its route changed as there were concerns that the animal may have been wandering along the designated trail.
According to Tourism Beaufort West, park rangers launched a search, and a fresh spoor was discovered on Monday morning, meaning the lion was still active in the area. The spoor was the first fresh lead since the big cat’s escape.
“Finally a new spoor was found yesterday at 4.30pm about seven kilometres from Park’s north-east boundary,” a post on the Tourism board’s Facebook page read on Tuesday morning.
Previously another lion, one of the most beloved in the country, named Sylvester escaped from the Karoo National Park on two separate occasions.
Sylvester managed to evade capture for over three weeks during his first escape, and was fitted with a combination satellite/VHF collar to track him in case he escaped a second time.
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.