Video: 5 lions captured after roaming around Phalaborwa

A tricky capture and release was performed by several stakeholders after young lions were noted around the Limpopo town.

Five young lions caused an uproar on social media this week after they were spotted roaming around Phalaborwa on Monday.

According to Eugene Troskie of Phalaborwa Natural Heritage Foundation (PNHF), the lions were successfully darted and released in the Greater Kruger yesterday. They are currently monitored thanks to a donation by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), which sponsored a satellite collar for one of the lions. Although the lions are believed to be from the Greater Kruger system, no reserve claimed them by yesterday.

The group consists of two adult females and three young males.

Troskie believes that because the lions are still young, they might have been pushed out of their pride by adult lions and that they have strayed far from their original territory. “It does not look like they were from around here, they may have wandered far from their original territory.” He says that keeping wildlife within a protected area is challenging. A small animal like a porcupine can dig a hole underneath a fence and a big animal like a lion digs it bigger and escapes from the protected area, he adds.

The lions are immobilised. Photo: Supplied.

Troskie advises that residents should refrain from causing panic by posting videos and photos on public groups if they encounter wildlife outside of a reserve. According to him, people go to the scene and scare the animals away making it difficult to track them. “The rescue was difficult because of the thick vegetation in the area where they were found, but it was not dangerous. They were darted and released in a reserve in the Greater Kruger.”

PNHF worked with Palabora Mining Company’s environmental team, Dr Dirk de Klerk from the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environmental and Tourism (Ledet), EWT, Dr Rita Piso of Mangata Veterinary Services and Dr Sune Ferreira to affect the capture and released.

Ledet spokesperson Zaid Kalla also encourages communities to refrain from attempts on capturing or provoking stray wildlife, and adds that they should not approach its young or offspring. “The department has skilled employees tasked with management of wildlife. For safety, members of our communities should always contact us or SAPS regarding spotting of any stray wildlife,” he concludes.

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