Early this week news broke in the media about lions roaming around the Fochville area. Some alleged that there were 5 lions on the loose, leaving a trail of destruction and terror in their wake. Predictably, the captive lion industry was slammed and blamed for the presence of these extremely dangerous, supposedly escaped animals.
In the interest of the safety of the communities of Fochville and the surrounding area, a number of members of the South African Predator Association (SAPA), with some of their staff members, voluntarily travelled to the area to assist with the tracking of the lions and, if necessary or possible, their capture. These individuals, a team with the necessary knowledge and skills with regard to tracking and lion behaviour, joined forces with the South African Police Services, Nature Conservation officials and others who were on the ground to try and prevent a possible disaster.
After an extensive search of a large area by professional trackers and lion breeders, and an intensive aerial search with a helicopter, no lion was seen. Some tracks and evidence of the presence of one lion was found on the ground and bait was put out in an attempt to determine if it was only a single animal or more, as was alleged, but the bait remained untouched. However, indications are that one animal has been in the area for quite some time and the local people, aware of its presence, do not view the lion as a problem or a serious threat to their safety.
Members of the public in the area are requested to be on the lookout for this lion and to please report any sightings to their local SAPS station and to SAPA. Please do not try to capture or confine the lion, as it is a dangerous wild animal by nature and must be dealt with only by professionals with the necessary knowledge and skill.
SAPA would like to thank its members for their assistance. This was done by their own initiative and at their own expense, in the interest of the Fochville community and public at large.