Sylvester's Story

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

During June 2015 a three-year-old Sylvester felt threatened by a male lion coalition in the Karoo National Park and after some good rain found a place in the electric fence that had lifted, he saw an opportunity, crawled under the fence and made his escape. Many resources were called in and used to track Sylvester, including trackers, honorary rangers, sniffer dogs, helicopters and microlights.

Sylvester was running for his life and did not make it easy to find him.

On day 24 of the search after travelling an estimated 370km’s, he was spotted for the 5th time on the steep cliffs of the Nuweveld Mountains, about 20kms from the Karoo National Park from which he had escaped. During his period of 24 days he managed to only be spotted four times, killed twenty-seven sheep, one Kudu and one Nguni cow. He was dubbed Spook for the obvious reason that he was like a ghost, hard to find. He was darted and air-lifted back to Karoo National Park and released into an enclosure to make sure that he was healthy and to also fit him with a tracking collar. This however was not the end of Spooks’ story. The other lions in the park made his life very difficult and therefor he felt the need to get out and away from them.

Fearing for his life he escaped a second time a few months later. This time he was captured within three days (thank you to his tracking collar)

By now there was huge controversy in the Media and public. Most people did not understand that he was running / fighting for his life and that he could no longer stay in the park as the other lions would most certainly kill him. Sanparks was under tremendous pressure to euthanise him, his future was uncertain to say the least. Thanks to a huge public outcry and taking into consideration that he no longer could stay in the confines of the Karoo National Park, Sanparks made a decision to relocate Sylvester to a new home at Kuzuko, a contractual area of the Addo National Park. At Kuzuko Sylvester quickly formed a coalition with a younger male lion, Fielies (Son of Josie, Addo Elephant Park’s well-known lioness). He also found love and grew very fond of a specific lioness, Angel. In June 2018 Sylvester fathered two cubs with Angel and now has his own family.

For more about Kuzuko and my Travel Blog on our experience, click here

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