Cape Town - South Africa National Parks (SANParks) has announced that helicopters were dispatched on Thursday morning, 13 July to search for the four male lions who have escaped from Kruger National Park.
This follows the initial escape, which took place on Sunday 9 July, with the lions last spotted in the Crocodile River gorge area on Tuesday, 11 July.
"The lions are currently believed to be in very rocky, mountainous and thickly wooded uninhabited areas south of the Crocodile gorge, and the MTPA have very experienced staff dealing with the situation, and together with SANParks every effort will be made to locate and capture them," says SANParks General Manager - Veterinary Wildlife Services, Dr Markus Hofmeyr.
SEE: UPDATE: Escaped Kruger lions 'in rocky Crocodile gorge'
Meanwhile The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hosepersa) declared a SANparks Nationwide strike, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
Janine Raftopoulos, SANparks spokesperson says that the strike is coming at a bad time for SANparks, as the predators cannot be found by Mpumalanga Tourism Parks Agency (MTPA) and SANparks services.
Some 3000 workers will stop working as soon as the strike certificates are issued. The potential strike comes after Hospera’s employees are asking for a 9% wage increase.
“SANparks only agreed for 6%,” says Noel Desfountains, the General Secretary of the union.
“The negotiations were a deadlock,” adds Desfountains, “the strike is the last resort to make them re-negotiate”.
Raftopoulos confirms that the search teams were “highly experienced” and that they are doing everything to “monitor the areas to find the lions and relocate them in Kruger Park”.
SEE: PICS: Tourist gets lucky as she spots escaped Kruger lion being recaptured
Visitors are being advised to treat the animals as dangerous and they should not be approached or interfered with in any way or for any reason.
Sightings of the missing lions or any sign of their presence they should immediately make contact with MTPA officials at 083 626 6792, SANParks on 076 801 9679 or 013 735 0197/4064 or SAPS on 080010111.
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- UPDATE: Escaped Kruger lions 'in rocky Crocodile gorge'
- UPDATE: Search continues for four Kruger lions, visitors advised to be extra cautious
- Tourist gets lucky as she spots escaped Kruger lion being recaptured