Africa

#SaveSylvester plea over South African escaped lion

A lion and a lioness rest at Lion Park, near Pretoria, on June 29, 2010. Image copyright AFP
Image caption South Africa has a large lion population

Animal rights campaigners are urging a South African game park to reverse its decision to put down a lion who escaped on Sunday.

The lion, called Sylvester, crawled under an electric fence after heavy rains dislodged earth, according to a Karoo National Park spokeswoman.

The park authorities intend to use a helicopter to find the lion.

He was fitted with a tracking collar after he was on the loose for three weeks last year.

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The park authorities said on Wednesday that they were still considering five options, only one of which was to kill the lion.

Other options were to bring the lion back to the park and improve the fencing.

They said the previous decision to kill Sylvester had been made prematurely.

On Tuesday night South Africa National Parks tweeted that it was a difficult decision to put down the lion once they find him.

Image copyright Twitter

The hashtag #SaveSylvester has been trending in South Africa since Wednesday morning.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Last June, Sylvester went on a sheep-killing spree, wandering 300km (180 miles) before he was found taking a nap by rangers and airlifted from the Nuweveld Mountains in Western Cape.

On his current escape, he has already travelled at least 20km (12 miles) and killed a cow, according to AFP news agency.

Meanwhile in Kenya, another lion was shot dead by a ranger on Wednesday after he escaped from a park in Nairobi.

Several lions have escaped from the park in recent weeks.

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Media captionA man attacked by a lion in Nairobi described how he feared he would die

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