Fugitive S.African lion offered death sentence reprieve

By AFP 30 March 2016

South African wildlife officials said Wednesday they would re-assess a decision to euthanize a lion named Sylvester who has escaped twice from a national park and killed livestock.

Trackers are searching for the three-year-old animal after he slipped through a fence at the Karoo National Park in the south of the country at the weekend.

The South Africa National Parks authority (SANParks) had announced it would put down the lion when he was caught — triggering outrage from some animal lovers.

But on Wednesday it said euthanizing Sylvester would only be considered if “the damage caused is massive and may include danger to people.”

“Some members of the public have been alarmed by reports that the animal will be euthanized, but no decision can be taken until the animal is safely captured,” it added.

The lion could instead be moved to another national park or private game reserve, or fencing could be improved to keep him inside the Karoo park.

On his previous escape last year, Sylvester killed 28 sheep, a cow and a kudu antelope during three weeks on the run in which he roamed for hundreds of kilometres.

He was finally captured after being shot by a tranquiliser dart fired from a helicopter in a hunt that cost 800,000 rand ($54,000; 47,300 euros).

Sylvester, who was fitted with a tracking collar after that breakout, escaped again on Sunday under an electric fence after heavy rains.

He has since killed one cow on a private farm, according to reports.

“Though the team of rangers sent out to search for the lion are experienced in tracking animals in the bush, the situation on the ground continues to pose a real danger of a possible ambush by the animal,” the park authorities said.

“The lion is currently roaming a remote mountainous area and it is hoped that it will not encounter humans.”

Locals were warned to use extreme caution and not to approach him.

Lions were re-introduced to Karoo National Park, in Western Cape province, in 2010 after an absence of almost 170 years.

The last wild lion in the area was shot in 1842.


© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?

Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.

Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.

*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.

Our Burning Planet Op-Ed

Adults owe teen climate activists the earth – it’s the least we can do

By Leonie Joubert