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Rietvlei Nature Reserve lion killers knew their way around facility

Lions at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Picture: Facebook

Lions at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Picture: Facebook

Published Oct 28, 2019


Pretoria - The killing of four lions at Rietvlei Nature Reserve last week was suspected to have been criminals who knew the exact layout of the facility.

MMC for environment and agriculture management Dana Wannenburg said according to information at their disposal, it appeared the people who butchered the lions on Thursday night knew where to look and how to gain entry.

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He said the lions, two males and two females, were kept in a camp, but in separate enclosures.

“These people knew how to gain access through the main roads and where to cut into the fences to gain access to the lions. No ordinary person could have known that information.”

He said the reserve had no more lions, but was looking to get more lions from Krugersdorp.

The new lions, however, would no longer be brought to Rietvlei following the latest incident, he said.

“We’ve heightened security with Tshwane metro police patrolling the main roads in and around the reserve to increase the existing security. We also have to consider the safety of other animals such as rhinos.

“The rhinos at the reserve have been dehorned, but you never know when someone might want to try to attack them too.”

Wannenburg said they would only consider bringing in the new lions next year, as they wanted to avoid the year-end rush and festivities.

City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said one of the lions belonged to the reserve while the others to the Pretoria Zoo.

A case has been reported to the Lyttelton police and was still under investigation.

Conservation officials reportedly found the butchered carcasses in the enclosure. Their jaws and paws were removed.

While the investigations were still in the early stages, Wannenburg said it was suspected they were poisoned and body parts removed for muti purposes.

Pretoria News

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Crime and Courts