As concern for security of lives rise in South Africa lions roaming freely in some neighborhoods in South Africa, more of the man eating animals have been seen wandering around the country.
Agency reports recently reported that five lions are currently on the loose in a rural area about 35 miles (60 km) west of South Africa’s commercial capital of Johannesburg.
The South African police and conservationists however have assured the general public of ongoing operations to capture the roaming animals.
Daily Times recalls that earlier in May, officials in South Africa reported of ongoing search for five lions that escaped from Kruger National Park, the country’s biggest wildlife reserve.
Parks spokesman Rey Thakhuli then said that the search was difficult because the lions were believed to be in sugar cane farms in an area that has thick fog in the mornings, and he speculates that the animals may have split up.
He urged people not to stop to take photographs of the animals because they are dangerous and are thought to have already killed a cow.
Meanwhile, the national parks service said Tuesday that a resident spotted the lions on a road in Komatipoort, a town near the park, on Monday morning.
There have been a spate of such incidents this year in South Africa, which unlike most African countries keeps large, dangerous wildlife in enclosed reserves to prevent conflict with people and livestock.
It is unusual, however, for lions to roam so near a city. The area where the animals have been sighted near the town of Fochville is a patchwork of cattle farms, open countryside, crowded squatter camps and gold mining communities.
Police said officers received a call late on Friday from a farm where the lions had attacked livestock.
“They investigated and were surprised to see a pride of five lions on the farm, busy feeding on a cow. They were able to identity a large male and four smaller lions,” a statement said.
Authorities do not know where the animals came from as there are no predator reserves nearby.
Carl Thornton, the head of Pittrack K9, an NGO that specialises in anti-poaching and tracking operations, said conservationists were alerted several weeks ago after a driver reported hitting a lion with a vehicle.
Lion tracks were subsequently identified in the area and the carcasses of a donkey and a trio of impalas, an African antelope species, were found.
A lion was also filmed on a farmer’s CCTV camera and the initial assumption was that there was a single lion prowling in the vicinity.
Thornton said the capture operation involved baiting the cats with a carcass injected with sedatives.
“You chain a carcass to a tree and then play a distress call of a buffalo calf,” he said. The hope is to capture them alive and place them in reserves.