File picture: By Colin Bell
According to reports, all four lions that escaped from the Kruger National Park earlier this week have been shot dead.

A spokesperson for the Tourism and Parks Agency of northern Mpumalanga province confirmed to the agency dpa that they had been killed.

The male lions were seen on Sunday outside the park, and then wandered about 15km towards Nelspruit, said Kholofelo Nkambule from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).

It appears that one of the lions killed the cow of a local farmer, who shot it dead and wounded another on Thursday.

Officials from the country’s national parks authority and from the MTPA killed the remaining three lions, Nkambule told dpa.

Parks officials said all reasonable efforts were made to secure them safely and due to safety considerations a decision had to be made to destroy them.

“We have a dedicated and experienced team on site that has been working tirelessly to locate and capture these lions. Unfortunately after all efforts were made and the risk of having a wounded lion roaming around, a decision had to be taken to destroy them,” said Abe Sibiya from MTPA.

A joint statement by SANParks and the MTPA on Twitter confirmed that the lions had been killed.

The escape of the four lions followed that of five lions in May. Four were captured and taken back to the park, but the fifth has still not been found.