MBOMBELA – The farmer on whose property the escaped lions from the Kruger National Park (KNP) was killed last week, said they did not act maliciously.
Barend Janse van Rensburg told Lowvelder that his brother, Isak shot and killed the one and injured another of the young males that escaped from the KNP last weekend.
The lions were discovered on Barend’s farm in the Crocodile River Conservancy on Wednesday. At first, four were reportedly sighted, but it was later confirmed that there had been only three. He explained that an employee came to call him Wednesday afternoon. He had spotted two lions feeding on a cow.
He said he was surprised, as earlier that day the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) told him the lions were some distance from his farm, with a fence between them. Suddenly, they were a kilometre from his house.
“We went to go see if we could shoot them,” Barend said.
They found two, and Isak shot one dead. The other one fled. They didn’t have cellphone reception and, therefore, couldn’t call the MTPA, Barend explained.
Early on Thursday morning, they went to look for them again. They found two who had eaten more of the carcass and moved it. Isak only managed to wound the one, and the brothers called the MTPA.
They said they went up in a chopper to put down the wounded one, and to try and dart the rest. It proved impossible and the entire pride was eliminated.
Veterinary surgeon Dr Ferreira du Plessis said That lions that catch cattle can be rehabilitated. “It depends on the situation.”
He said it was not really the taste of the meat lions liked, but the comfort such an area represented in that it offered easy meals and no other lions or predators competing with them.
They were definitely not the same five which escaped in May. Four of them were darted and microcipped and returned to the park. It is believed the fifth one found his way back by himself.
According to Du Plessis, the carcases were removed and used for disease research.
“We don’t expect more to escape,” he said. “It does not happen often.”
He concluded that the farmer acted within the law to protect his property, but he should have phoned the MTPA sooner.
Barend said there wasn’t time to wait for them. “We had to act fast as the next day they would have been in a different location. They had already caused me damage.”
He said two cows and three calves were affected. “We shot them for our own safety, and that of my workers who live nearby. Everybody was exposed.”http://lowvelder.co.za/396356/breaking- ... ped-lions/