Fourteen lions are thought to have broken out of a South African national park, in what is believed to be the country’s largest escape of lions.
Locals have been warned to be alert, as the lions were spotted “roaming” around a mine in north-east South Africa, according to the local Limpopo government.
The lions are believed to have escaped from Kruger National Park, a government spokesperson said.
The province’s department for economic development, environment and tourism confirmed the sighting and said rangers were monitoring the pride’s movements.
The decision to attempt to capture the wild cats and release them back into Kruger National Park was later made by the department, who urged workers at the mine and locals “to be alert at all times”.
Kruger National Park is one of the biggest game reserves in Africa and is mostly surrounded by a fence.
On Wednesday, a leopard at the park killed a staff member’s toddler.
A funeral for the child will be held on Sunday.
The leopard had entered the living quarters of the Malelane Technical Services in the park on Wednesday evening, before attacking the child.
Family members took the boy to Shongwe hospital in Schoemansdal, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Park rangers were sent out to search for the leopard, which was eventually found and shot dead.
The statement said: “In parks like the KNP, predators do interact with tourists and staff and at times it may result in species like leopard getting habituated to people and losing their fear.
“The change in natural behaviour can then lead to unfortunate incidents such as this.”
Fundisile Mketeni, the chief executive officer of South African National Parks, sent his “prayers and thoughts” to the family of the boy, and added: ~This is the risk we live with on a daily basis as we help conserve our species for the benefit of all.”