After a month of exploring the countryside, stopping for ‘padkos‘ along the way and generally keeping authorities on their feet, the lion missing from the Karoo National Park has been captured.
Like any naughty outlaw, he was sleeping it all off in a police cell, sure to be affronted upon waking that his freedom had suddenly been curtailed.
“He has been captured… and is safe and sound,” a relieved-sounding Reynold “Rey T” Thakhuli, SANParks general manager for media, PR and stakeholder relations, reported on Wednesday night.
He said the lion was found on a farm outside Sutherland in the Northern Cape, about 300km from the Karoo National Park.
“He was darted from a helicopter and is in a police holding cell in Sutherland. We are just waiting for a crate to come and transport him back to the park.
“He’s certainly not a criminal,” he joked, when asked what charges the lion faced. Estimated to be between two and four years old, the male lion went missing on February 15. Ranger and tracker teams have been working shifts to track him down, after an Eland and 4 sheep were eaten in his massacre.
An advanced chopper equipped with modern infrared cameras was provided by Bidvest Protea Coin to help assist with the search.
SANParks also has its own helicopter on standby.The last lion to carry the record for the longest disappearance was 4-year-old Sylvester in 2016. He managed to evade capture for two weeks.