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Karoo lion finally on his way back to park after almost month-long escape

The young lion that escaped the boundaries of the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West almost a month ago has finally been found. He was successfully darted last night in the vicinity of the Northern Cape town of Sutherland some 120km from the park.
A sedated young lion that escaped from the Karoo National Park over a month ago kept in a holding cell at the Southerland Police cell.

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.”

He 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 CEO 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.”

The proud SANParks team that has been tracking the escaped lion for almost a month.

Successfully darted

According to Van der Walt, the trackers picked up a new spoor in the afternoon on Wednesday, 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 6pm.”

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.”
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