Euthanasia not the only option for Sylvester the lion – SANParks

Social media platforms exploded with public outcry after SANParks announced its intention to euthanise the lion nicknamed Sylvester after the animal once again escaped from the Karoo National Park.

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Sylvester first made headlines last year when he escaped for three weeks after heavy rains enabled him to crawl under an electric fence surrounding a section of the park. During his three weeks of ‘freedom’, Sylvester angered farmers by killing 28 sheep, a Nguni cow and a kudu on private farms.

Responding to the public outrage about plans to put the lion down after its latest escape, SANParks has now said it’s “considering a number of measures to deal with the lion once it is captured in line with the Norms and Standards for the Management of Damage-Causing Animals.”

Options include:

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  • Bringing the lion back to the park and looking at improving fencing and other preventative measures
  • Moving the lion to another national park
  • Donating the lion to a state-owned or private conservation entity

“SANParks would like to make it known to the public that we are dealing with a dangerous and ever changing situation and as such decisions related to the capture of the lion will be informed by the situation at the moment of capture,” said the organisation in a statement.

A number of private game reserve owners have showed willingness to take over ownership of Sylvester.

According to SANParks, following its previous escape, the animal was fitted with a tracking collar.

“A 14-person tracking team, bolstered by aerial support has been searching for the escaped animal in the Beaufort West area since Monday [28 March] when the escape was discovered,” said the statement.

The lion has already killed one cow on a privately-owned farm.