Sylvester The Runaway Lion Gets A New Start And A New Home

South African National Parks (SANParks) announces that it will be relocating the lion which escaped from Karoo National Park at the end of March to the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP).

The fate of a Lion named Sylvester has stirred some serious controversy. Recently, Sylvester escapedfrom a national park in South Africa for the second time, leaving many worried he would be killed.

Sylvester first escaped from the Karoo National Park last June, and was free for three weeks before being captured, brought back and radio collared. He escaped again last month, and wandered for a few days before being found and captured yet again.

Many believe his escape wasn’t so much an issue with inadequate fencing as it was a desperate effort on Sylvester’s part to save himself from dominant males he was trapped with. Like Mohawk, another recent Lion escapee who was killed for his effort, he was just trying to venture out on his own and find his own territory.

Unfortunately, his attempt to keep himself safe would, ironically, be what put him in danger to be killed. South Africa National Parks (SANParks) came up with a few options for his future in response to the incident that ranged from donating him to keeping him and building a better enclosure, but officials ultimately decided to kill him, citing unfounded concerns that he poses a threat to us.

“He is clearly a troublesome lion and could be a danger to humans,” Reynold Thakhuli, SANParks spokesman, told AFP after he escaped.

The public’s reaction was swift – letters were written, comments were made and people launched a Twitter campaign to #SaveSylvester.

Thanks to public pressure, officials have changed their stance, announcing this week that Sylvester will not be killed. Instead, he will be moved to the Addo Elephant National Park, where he’ll be joining two young female lions and it’s hoped he’ll bond with them and become the head of his own pride.

“We would like to thank members of the public for their interest in this lion and their continued interest in conservation generally. We attempted to respond to every message we received but eventually abandoned this due to the sheer number of messages received in the last two weeks,” the CEO of SANParks, Fundisile Mketeni, said in a statement.



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