Cape Town - Three lions that have spent the past week on the run have since been shot, SANParks has confirmed.
The lions were initially spotted outside the Kruger National Park on Sunday, 9 July, with a helicopter search later launched on Thursday 13 July.
However, SANParks spokesperson William Mabasa said one of the lions, was killed by a farmer after the three killed the farmer's cattle on Wednesday evening, 12 July.
"Last night the lions killed cattle in one of the farm areas. The owner of the farm shot at the lions and killed one and wounded another."
Mabasa said they dispatched a search team in the early hours of Thursday morning and found the lions close to the farm. The terrain was difficult and we could not drug them so we were forced to shoot the remaining two lions," he said.
But many have taken to twitter to express concern about how the search was handled. This as The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hosepersa) declared a SANparks Nationwide strike, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
SEE: UPDATE: Lions still on the loose while SANparks workers plan a strike
'Farmer within his rights
However the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency has said the farmer within his right to shoot the animals and will not be prosecuted according to the law in terms of "damage-causing animals".
"He acted within his right to protect himself and his asset which is the cattle in this instance,” a spokesperson for the agency says.
SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Will SA's estimated 7 000 canned lions all end up this way?
Traveller24 has contacted SANParks to confirm what will happen to the carcasses of the shot lions. This as lion bones continue to be a controversial issue in South Africa.
The recent announcement by the department of environmental affairs of an approved 2017 quota of 800 lion skeletons, unfortunately has pushed the issue further into the spotlight on the species and the use of its parts, beyond just trophy hunting, for eastern medicinal practices.
Lions in South Africa are listed under Appendix II which means their products can be traded internationally but only “if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.” The numbers of African free-range lions have declined alarmingly over the last few decades with only 20 000 remaining today, down from 30 000 just two decades ago.
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