Rangers and trackers from the Karoo National Park are still searching for the escaped Karoo lion, SANParks said. File picture: African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Rangers and specialised trackers from the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape, are still searching for the escaped Karoo lion, South African National Parks (SANParks) said on Tuesday.

The lion is believed to have escaped from the park on Friday 15 February and now has a nine-man team on the ground leading the search for it.

By midday on Tuesday, the team reported to still not have found any fresh tracks, nor had had any sightings of the lion.

"The team comprises four trackers and four rangers, led by Karoo National Park’s Senior Section Ranger. They will remain in the area where they suspect the lion to be until nightfall, making full use of the daylight hours available to them," said SANParks.

Park Manager, Nico van der Walt, said from the momentary sighting rangers had of the animal last week, they believe the animal to be a two-and-a-half-year-old male.

"It’s believed he managed to escape underneath the park’s electrified fencing after heavy rain in the area washed away sediment along the boundary - and before rangers could get to all the areas to attend to these holes in the ground," Van der Walt said.

Landowners on the farm Highlands, to the north-east of the Karoo National Park, were asked to be on the lookout for the tracks of the escaped Karoo lion on Monday.

This came after two search teams lost the lion's track in the rocky harsh terrain that they were operating in over the weekend.

According to a statement by SanParks on Monday, local Beaufort West residents are fearful since the lion's escape.

Van der Walt though reassured residents that the lion was last seen more than 12km from the north-eastern boundary of the park and that this is in the opposite direction of the town's location to the park.

African News Agency (ANA)