Male lion that escaped from Pilanesberg National Park found and euthanised

The lion that escaped from the Pilanesberg National Park a week ago was found and euthanised on Saturday.

Pieter Nel, Pilanesberg’s Acting Head of Conservation, said the male lion was spotted on Saturday morning during a helicopter search. He said the big cat was found on a farm, near the kraal where it had previously killed some goats.

“The lion was approached with a vehicle and darted, and on advice from the consulting veterinarian, it was euthanised,” said Nel.

The three-year-old lion had a bullet wound and shattered shoulder after the farmer had previously fired shots at it.

“The owner of the goats indicated he managed to fire a shot at the lion when it charged them,” said Nel.

It is suspected that the lion escaped from the Pilanesberg nature reserve through one of the floodgates in the fence. The floodgates open when streams in the park are in flood.

Nel said the lion had ticks all over its body and porcupine quills in its mouth.

The North West Parks Board thank the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust, staff of the Black Rhino Landowners Association, the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism, field guides and staff of the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve for their help in finding the lion.

Previous lion escapes

Wild animals periodically escape from parks across the country.

In 2020, seven lions made a dash for it and escaped from the Alldays Lodge in Limpopo. They were all kept in an enclosure at the registered captive breeding facility.

The lions were darted and captured within 11 hours.

In the preceding year, a pride of 14 lions escaped from the Kruger National Park.

Locals spotted them roaming around the Phalaborwa’s Foskor Mine prompting warnings from local officials. The pride was eventually darted and brought back into the park.

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