KAROO NEWS - Following an almost month-long search for a young lion that escaped from the boundaries of the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape, the animal was successfully darted last night in the vicinity of the Northern Cape town of Sutherland some 120 km from the Karoo National Park.
This is according to Karoo National Park Manager, Nico van der Walt who said the lion is in an excellent condition… “he looks very healthy and is currently in transit back to the Karoo National Park.”
The lion has been named 'Mufasa'.
Van der Walt said this has been one of the most taxing experiences for the team involved in the recapture operation, “but their dedication day and night, sleeping out in the veld, sometimes in the rain with wind and is to be commended.”
SANParks, Chief Executive Officer, Fundisile Mketeni said: "We understand the conditions in which the tracking team were working under in an effort to recapture the escaped lion were very difficult. On behalf of all SANParks staff I wish to extend our gratitude for their hard work and efforts put into the recapture of this animal.”
Mketeni also paid a special tribute to the farming community in the Northern and Western Cape for their assistance in supplying information on identified spoor.
He further said the support received from the Pretoria based Bidvest Protea Coin Security during the search was highly appreciated. “Everyone who assisted without being requested to do so has shown appreciation for South Africa’s natural heritage and for this we commend them.”
According to Van der Walt, the trackers picked up a new spoor in the afternoon (13 March) and followed it until the lion stormed out of the bush late in the afternoon.
“A SANParks helicopter was dispatched and the animal was successfully darted in the mountains at approximately 18:00.”
Van der Walt concluded by saying that quick decision-making was required after administering the dart as darkness was quickly approaching… “thankfully Sutherland SAPS provided a holding cell for the lion until the arrival of a crate from the Addo Elephant National Park this morning.”