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Oliver still evading capture

Following in the footsteps of the famous lion named Sylvester, another lion managed to escape from The Karoo National Park.

Although the lion has not been officially named, we decided to call him Oliver for now. Oliver, the homeless kitten in the 1988 animated Walt Disney movie, 'Oliver And Company.'

Like Sylvester (escaping from the park in 2015 and again in 2016), Oliver escaped through the fence of the Karoo National Park on 15 February 2019, and is evading capture.

"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, according to Nico Van der Walt, Park Manager of The Karoo National Park.

Five days after the lion escaped, rangers managed to follow the lion tracks to where it disappeared into a dense area, inaccessible even by a all wheel drive vehicle. The lion is approximately 2 years and six months old.

A helicopter was deployed, but returned without any success in tracking down Oliver. Specialised tracking teams from the Karoo National Park have extended the search area in the hope of tracking down the animal. The Police Stock Theft Unit based in Beaufort West are assisting SANParks (South African National Parks) in the search for the animal.

It is believed that the lion killed an Eland in the fight for survival. According to SANParks media officer, Reynold Thakhuli, the aim is to capture rather than kill the animal. He told media reporters that the tracking teams are equipped with the necessary tools to dart the lion when spotted. There is also a veterinarian surgeon on stand-by to assist if necessary.

People in and around the area are requested to be vigilant and not to approach the animal. Sightings or evidence of lion spoor are to be reported to the police or the park on 023 415 2828 or Van der Walt directly on 082 801 2109.


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