Defying lockdown curfew: 14 escaped lions safe after apparent botched poaching

An apparent botched poaching attempt saw 14 lions escaping from their enclosure from the Elandsfontein Farm's private facility close to Lichtenburg.

According to the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism, the lions got out of cage at the facility approximately 5kms outside of Lichtenburg on the Ottoshoop road (R505).

All the lions were safely recaptured and returned to their enclosure.

"It is believed that there was an attempt to poach the animals as their cage fence was found to have been cut at the back," the department said on its official Twitter account.

It seems that the lions escaped on Friday evening and a search and capture operation by the department's problem animal control unit, in conjunction with the police, was launched.

URGENT NOTICE – The Department hereby cautions community members around Lichtenburg and adjacent farms to be extra careful as 19 lions have escaped from their cage at a facility approximately 5kms outside of Lichtenburg on the Ottoshoop road (R505).

— North West DEDECT (@NWPG_Dedect) August 1, 2020

The department had earlier said that 19 lions had escaped.

"Departmental Biodiversity officials conducted an inspection and confirmed that the permit is still valid and no non-compliance was detected. Further investigations will follow. We thank our officials, law enforcement and the community for all the efforts taken," it said.

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