On Monday July 14, Gondwana Management was notified that at least three of their lions had breached the perimeter fence and gained access into a neighbouring farm and killed three cows. Gondwana Wildlife Manager, John Vogel, immediately reacted to the notification.
Three lions were seen feeding on a cow carcass approximately 400 meters from the Gondwana fence line and a number of kilometres from any residential area. There were several neighbouring farmers on sight, some of whom were armed, already at the scene in vehicles watching the lion. Vogel assessed the situation and felt that there was no danger to any humans or additional livestock at that point and that it would be very possible to passively lure the lion back onto the Reserve. While contacting further Gondwana team members to advise of what was needed to move the lion, two additional lionesses walked into the area. At this point some of the armed farmers opened fire on the pride of lions, without notifying Gondwana of their intent, or under instruction. This resulted in the lions scattering into a nearby thicket. It was believed that at least one lion was hit, possibly two.
We are greatly saddened and disappointed by this turn of events as the situation was contained and no person or animal was in danger. Due to the gunshots, terrain and wounding of the lion, it took the Gondwana Management team three days to locate the animals via helicopter, the use of thermal cameras and dogs in inaccessible areas. As of Thursday July 17 all four lions were back on the Reserve with one lioness confirmed deceased due to her gunshot wounds. It is believed that the lions breeched the fence through a small hole caused by porcupines.
Gondwana Game Reserve has taken full responsibility for this breech and will compensate the farmer for the loss of livestock (three cows) and will mitigate any further possibility of this happening again. They will keep 24-hour surveillance on the lion for a period deemed necessary to ensure the lion do not try to breech the fence again.
Gondwana Game Reserve is currently in the process of confirming if any of the other four lions were injured in the incident.
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