A lion at large near Dundee could end up being exterminated. Picture: Supplied

DURBAN - A death warrant has been signed for the lion at large in the Dundee-Nqutu area of northern KZN.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife confirmed a destruction permit has been issued for the creature, although a decision whether or not to exterminate the feline will be carried out if and when it arrives at a baited trap.

“The circumstances at the time of next sighting will determine the method of capture which will probably be killing it to protect human life,” Musa Mntambo, spokesman for Ezemvelo said. “A destruction permit has been issued according to applicable legislation in circumstances like this.”

The Democratic Alliance has objected to the wildlife agency’s intention to kill the lion and has urged them to capture it instead.

“But it would seem that Ezemvelo is incapable of live capture,” said MPL Heinz de Boer who last week intended to question Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube about its possible extermination during a provincial, conservation and environmental affairs committee meeting. However, she did not attend it, he said.

“Now I shall have to send a written question and that can take a month or two to get an answer. By then the lion will probably be dead.“

He added that the DA had called for a moratorium on the shooting of the Big Five by Ezemvelo and that this has been ignored by the ANC.

Back in the bush where the lion is at large, Mntambo said that only one lion had been captured by a trap camera. It is believed to have been one of two lions that escaped from a sanctuary in the area last year.

“One farmer claims to have lost a cow or so from his farm,” Mntambo added.

“The trap has been set for a lion but it has not yet returned.”

Two years ago a man narrowly escaped a lion attack while he was walking along a bush path near Gluckstadt, between Melmoth and Vryheid.

The Independent on Saturday