Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
On Friday, 15 July 2022, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife explained that due to the threat a pride of 6 lions placed on the two Northern KwaZulu-Natal communities of Okhukho and Nqulwane serious decisions had to be made.
The spokesperson for Ezemvelo, Musa Mntambo stated that during the verification drive on Saturday, 16 July 2022, only two carcasses remained, as they were in an area not easily accessible. However, the other four carcasses had been removed by community members for their use.
“When Ezemvelo’s helicopter flew above the second carcass, the area where the carcass was had become a point of convergence for a large group of community members who were of great assistance to Ezemvelo’s pilot, as she tried to manoeuvre the helicopter closer to the carcass.”
Elaborating on the reason why the lions were killed, Mntambo said, “The six lions had killed six cows before they were destroyed, and the figure of cows killed may rise as some community members still have to take stock of their cows.”
Additionally, Mntambo said that most of the community residents lived in fear with them afraid of venturing into areas used as grazing pastures.
“The community’s anger was mounting as it was feared that the lions had lost the fear of human beings.”
Adding to this, several community members alleged that they came into contact with these lions over the past while. Instead of the lions running away, which is their normal behaviour, according to Mntambo, the large predators walked straight toward the people, forcing them to retreat.
With this said, the decision to destroy the pride was also taken after several community protests, whereby community members cut the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park fence and staged a “sit-in” protest.
The residents threatened to not only sit inside Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park until the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay resolved their issues, but also to hunt and kill any lions they saw.
Following this, a meeting with MEC Pillay took place and several resolutions were accepted, including:
- The lions should be destroyed if they escape again, as it was feared that they might soon attack people.
- The plan to repair the fence is to be brought forward and local people should be employed when the repairs are made.
- The recent public participation workshops aimed at reviewing the compensation policy should be organised in their community hall for ease of access.
Happy that the community is safe and a long-standing issue resolved, it is still heartbreaking to learn that a pride of lions has been killed.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Share your views in the comment section below.