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Hunt on for lion that escaped from park

09 June 2015, 18:36

Johannesburg - Game trackers in South Africa are searching for a lion that escaped from a wildlife park, officials said Tuesday, warning members of the public not to approach the animal.

A helicopter has been used in the hunt for the three-year lion that is thought to have slipped through a hole in the fence at Karoo National Park in the south of the country on Friday night.

"Aerial and foot patrols over the weekend have not yet yielded the desired results," South African National Parks said in a statement.

"Although the trackers picked up the lion's spoor on a number of occasions, the terrain is mountainous, with many river valleys, thus making tracking difficult."

The carcass of a gembok antelope was put out to tempt the lion but without success, and park managers asked neighbouring farmers to be on the lookout.

"Members of the public who may see the lion or any signs of it are requested not to confront it," the statement added.

Last week, a 29-year-old female US tourist was mauled to death by a lion in a Johannesburg game park after she wound down the windows of car she was travelling in and was attacked.

The lion from the Karoo National Park is believed to have been forced out by older males.

"It is suspected he escaped through a hole under the fence line after damage caused by heavy rains," the parks department said.

"The lion then... entered private property through a storm water drain.

"Tracker teams, including tracking dogs and their handlers, have been sent... to assist in the search. The aerial and foot patrols are still ongoing."

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