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Search for escaped lions

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By ZWELIHLE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-23-Sep-2009

MBABANE – A perimeter comprising of five areas has been drawn where the escaped lions could still be roaming around.

It is four days since the story of the six lions and two elephants said to have escaped into the country from South Africa broke. The areas closely monitored include Nkalashane, eBhandeni, Mlawula, Shewula and Simunye. As the search for animals continues, lion paw prints and hairs have been identified following a dead carcass said to be that of a cow that was eaten by the lion pack.

The prints were discovered at eBhan- deni, just near the Nkalashane River and it is suspected that the cats had gone to drink from the river after feasting on a cow.

The lions and elephants escaped into the country from a game reserve at Sikhukhuza in South Africa. Traps have not yet been put up because the exact whereabouts of these animals have not yet been identified. “These are the places in which people should be on the lookout,” said Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Vusi Masuku, confirming the ongoing hunt to capture the six animals which have sent the Lomahasha community and surrounding areas into a state of fear.

“The traces found of these said animals is proof that the net is closing in on them,” said Masuku as he gave hope. George Mbatha, who is a Chief Game Ranger, advised community members in the surrounding areas to avoid walking at night at all cost. “Anyone who spots suspicious paw prints should contact the police or game rangers immediately,” said Mbatha.

Lions have a history of roaming around at night, as they prefer darkness to make movements and hunt. “Lions are man-eaters and do most of their hunting at night, late afternoon or early in the morning,” added the police PRO.


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