JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A trio of lions which escaped from South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park have been shot dead after killing a cow, park officials said on Thursday.
The latest breakout follows one by five lions in May, raising alarm bells in South Africa, which contains its big, dangerous wildlife in fenced reserves to prevent conflict with rural communities and livestock.
Janine Raftopoulos, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks (SANParks), said a farmer found the three big cats eating one of his cows and proceeded to shoot one dead and wounded another one.
Raftopoulos said rangers then went to the scene, tracked down the remaining lions and dispatched them.
Initial reports said four lions had broken out but Raftopoulos said “the tracks point to only three and the farmer only saw three feeding on his cow.”
Population pressures may be pushing the cats out of the park, which is the size of Israel, as their numbers swelled during a severe drought in 2015/16, which provided predators with a bonanza in dead and dying prey species.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar