A pride of lions is seen at a game reserve adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga province. File photo

Cape Town - South African National Parks said on Friday that the widely reported pride of lions seen recently in the mining area outside Phalaborwa, were not a pride from the Kruger National Park or the adjacent private nature reserves. 

It has been reported that this pride has been residing for more than a year within the Foskor, Phalaborwa Mining Company and adjacent areas, moving along the Selati river system.

This area outside but adjacent to the KNP, also contains elephant, buffalo and other wildlife.

The pride might have established in this area, due to the current availability of prey in these areas, and due to a lack of competition from other lion prides. The lion population within the Greater Kruger is very healthy, growing, and the suitable habitats occupied, SANParks said.

SANParks said that it would therefore be unwise to relocate a lion pride in the territory of an existing pride. It should also be noted that the disease status of animals is also a consideration when looking at possible release areas.

KNP General manager for Conservation, Dr Marisa Coetzee, said in a meeting between various parties it was agreed that a capture operation to be coordinated by Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) will be carried out as per the approved protocols.  

“The plan is to capture the pride and move them to a suitable area outside of the KNP and private reserves, where they will be closely monitored by LEDET.”

WARNING 

Phalaborwa residents, earlier this morning, were put on alert after the escape was announced.

The Limpopo Provincial Government confirmed the escape and asked residents to be careful. It is believed that the pride may be roaming near the Phalaborwa Foskor Mine. 

IOL