Facebook was abuzz earlier this week with pictures circulating of a lion with a snare around its neck in the Lower Sabie area of Kruger National Park. The young male lion was first spotted heading away from the river on 2 January on the H4-2 towards Crocodile bridge, about 2km from Lower Sabie. Rangers were alerted but unfortunately the tourists who saw the lion couldn’t stay with it due to gate closing times.
After an outcry on SANPark’s social media pages with members of the public stating that SANParks was doing nothing to help the lion, a statement was released on 4 January by
Lesley Nyawo, SANPark’s Public Relations Assistant, which said, “We are working closely with the Section Ranger at Lower Sabie, we have a team out searching for the lion. If any visitor spots this lion, please call the following numbers with GPS location or an indication of KM with significant area marker. 013 735 4325 or 013 735 4390. These numbers are also on your permits.”
Later that day the snared lion was spotted in roughly the same place by guests to Kruger.
Later that evening the lion was located by officials and vets were called to the scene, however upon their arrival it was too dark to dart the lion.
The road in the area of the lion was blocked, allowing rangers and vets to do their work and visitors were requested to avoid the area.
Early on 5 January, Lesley Nyawo announced that the lion had been darted and the vets were busy with assessments. Later that day the lion was relieved of the snare, the wound treated and the lion released into the area where it was darted.
A statement by Nyawo said, “Upon assessment of the wound by the vets, it appeared not to be as bad as anticipated and displayed by images. On behalf of Kruger National Park Management we take this opportunity to thank you all for the contribution and support we received from when the lion was reported up to its rescue.”