Sylvester the Lion doing well

APRIL 4, 2016

The Karoo National Park’s recaptured lion is back in the Park’s boma and doing well.  

He was recaptured in the Nuweveld Mountains about 20km’s from the park on 31 March 2016.  It took eight rangers nearly two hours to carry him down the mountain in treacherous terrain to an awaiting vehicle, followed by another two hours’ drive back to the park.  The lion naturally woke up from its sedated state from being darted not long after arriving back in the boma.

The lion is extremely skittish, as expected, with park management declaring the entire area around the boma off limits to all non-essential staff, guests and the media alike.  South African National Parks (SANParks) has been inundated with requests from journalists wanting to photograph and/or film the lion since his return yesterday. However, for his own safety, minimal human contact will be made, as the fear exists that he may harm himself by running into the boma’s electric fencing, as he may still believe he’s being chased.  

The lion had already eaten half the gemsbok given to him when he arrived at the boma.  There is enough water and shade in the enclosure and the only time that he will be slightly disturbed is when he is fed every few days, depending on the size of the animal fed to him.

A final decision on the lion’s future will be made once authorities are in agreement that he has adequately settled down and once they have thoroughly explored all the options available to them.  No set time frame is available for this.  

After his last escape he spent more than five months in the same holding boma before he was deemed ready to be released into the 93 000 hectare park itself.  SANParks CEO, Fundisile Mketeni, says “We remain committed to our conservation mandate and can give the assurance that whatever decision is taken will be in the best interests of the animal and conservation. 

The lion was darted from the air in difficult terrain high up in the mountains at about midday on 31 March 2016. Mketeni commended the Park Management and the entire tracking team for a job well done under tremendous strain and bad weather conditions.

“Wherever we may take the lion, we will ensure that he is fully integrated in order to lessen the chances of a reoccurrence of the recent incident. A thorough analysis of the translocation site will be conducted,” concluded Mketeni.