Residents have begun panicking after as many as five lions escaped from a sanctuary and wandered into town.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Rural Safety Coordinator of Fochville in Western Johannesburg, South Africa, Warrant Officer Jan Esterhuysen, has confirmed that five lions escaped from an unknown sanctuary in Gauteng Province on Saturday.
“We responded to a distress call and were surprised to see a pride of five lions in a farm at Fochville, busy feeding.
“We identified a large male and four smaller lions. Tracking them at night was difficult,” Esterhuysen said.
He said nature conservation and other role players were converging on the area to assess the situation.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union in the province, Mr. Trust Owoyele, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Johannesburg that the body had received information about the missing lions, warning Nigerians resident in the area to keep safe.
“We have a sizeable Nigerian population in the area. We advise that for now, they should stay away from farms, parks and bush because the predators could be hiding there.
“We also call on our people to be cautious of their movements in the night, especially in lonely areas because the lions have been sighted feeding on a cow in a farm,” he said.
Owoyele said though authorities were working hard to get the lions, it was important that Nigerians in the area adopt safety measures.
Secretary General of the union, Mr. Emeka Ezinteje, said the national secretariat was aware of the development in the area.
He also urged Nigerians to be conscious of the missing lions and be cautious in their movement.
“The union appeals to relevant authorities to assist in capturing the missing animals as quickly as possible,” he said.
In July, four male lions escaped from the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga Province. They were later spotted at a private farm near the park.