14 lions escape from Kruger park in S.Africa

In this file photo taken on July 19, 2011 a lioness stands in the light after a night patrol exercice with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) company against rhino's poachers along the Mozambique border in the Kruger National Park. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2019

14 lions escape from Kruger park in S.Africa

  • The Kruger National Park covers nearly two million hectares (4.9 million acres) and is home to over 500 bird species and 147 mammal species

JOHANNESBURG: A pride of 14 lions is on the loose near a mining community bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park, officials said Friday, and warned members of the public to be alert.
The lions have been spotted roaming around the Foskor phosphate mine outside the town of Phalaborwa on the western boundary of the famed wildlife park, which is fenced in.
But a disagreement broke out what to do with the big cats, which are being monitored by a team of rangers until a new home is found where they cannot run into humans.
Officials from the Limpopo provincial government said the lions had escaped from the Kruger park and should be taken back.
But a Kruger spokesman said the big cats were not from the park and could not be moved there as well-established prides would drive them out.
“The widely reported pride of lions seen recently in the mining area outside Phalaborwa is not a known pride from the Kruger National Park,” spokesman Ike Phaahla said in a statement, adding this meant they were the responsibility of provincial authorities.
“It has been reported that this pride has been residing for more than a year within the Foskor Phalaborwa Mining Company and direct adjacent areas,” said Phaahla, adding there were elephants and buffalo aplenty for the lions to eat.
“The lion population within the Greater Kruger is very healthy, growing, and the suitable habitats occupied. It would therefore be unwise to relocate a lion pride in the territory of an existing pride,” he said.

A meeting this week between local government and park officials agreed to capture the lions and find a suitable location to place them.
But Phaahla said any pride moved to the Kruger “will continually break out as other dominant lions will chase them out.”
Until the matter is settled, he warned, “there is a danger to members of the public who are working in the area.
“There is the possibility of wildlife-human conflict, so people have to be careful,” he told SABC public television. “We need to identify a park where they can be taken and establish their own area.”
In an online statement, the provincial department of environment and tourism advised Foskor Mine employees and residents in the area “to be alert at all times.”
Earlier this week, a leopard killed a two-year-old boy inside a fenced-off staff compound in the Kruger.
A team of rangers hunted down two suspected leopards and shot them dead to avoid the risk of a repeat.
The Kruger National Park covers nearly two million hectares (4.9 million acres) and is home to over 500 bird species and 147 mammal species.


Meghan Markle makes first public appearance since shock announcement

Updated 16 January 2020

Meghan Markle makes first public appearance since shock announcement

  • Harry and Meghan are in the middle of a storm after making their bombshell announcement last week
  • A crisis summit at Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham country residence on Monday was missed by Meghan, who was in Canada

VANCOUVER: Meghan Markle has made her first public appearance since she and Prince Harry sensationally decided to quit as full-time royals, visiting two women’s charities in Vancouver as British media reported she could face her father in court.
Harry and Meghan are in the middle of a storm after making their bombshell announcement last week — before they had discussed the plans with Queen Elizabeth II.
That followed Meghan launching legal action against The Mail on Sunday’s publishers in October after the tabloid printed a handwritten letter it had been shown by Thomas Markle.
The weekly newspaper has now issued its defense, leading to the possibility that Meghan and her father could be called to testify against each another.
A crisis summit at Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham country residence on Monday was missed by Meghan, who was in Canada — where she and Harry plan to live part-time.
The Duchess of Sussex on Tuesday visited the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, a non-profit organization that provides support to women who are fleeing violence, dealing with homelessness or living in poverty.
Meghan met with the director and a handful of frontline staff to discuss the challenges women in the neighborhood are facing.
“She was very interested in what goes on for women in this community, who we all know are marginalized women who’ve faced many challenges and barriers to their wellbeing,” said Kate Gibson, the acting executive director of the center.
The Vancouver-based non-profit Justice for Girls also said Meghan had stopped by, tweeting photos on Wednesday of the duchess during her visit.
“Yesterday, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle visited to discuss climate justice for girls and the rights of Indigenous peoples,” said the group, which helps teenage girls who live in poverty.
Final details on how Harry and Meghan’s new roles might work are due in the coming days.
The prospect of a high court showdown only adds to the pressure on the couple.
Harry, sixth in line to the throne, married US former television actress Meghan at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
Her father, an award-winning former television lighting director now living in Mexico, did not attend the wedding after staging paparazzi photographs and suffering chest pains in the build-up.


The letter was written in August 2018 and published in February 2019 shortly after the US magazine People ran a story citing Meghan’s friends talking about the letter, which shed light on her troubled relationship with her estranged father.
Meghan filed a claim in October last year against publishers Associated Newspapers over the alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.
In an accompanying statement, Harry lashed out at negative press coverage, claiming British tabloids had mounted a “ruthless” and “malicious” attempt to vilify his wife.
Newly-revealed legal documents outlining The Mail on Sunday’s defense show they will rely on evidence from Markle, including that he “had a weighty right to tell his version of what had happened.”
The paper’s sister publication the Daily Mail said on its front page Wednesday that Markle would be prepared to give evidence against his daughter.
The Mail on Sunday also argues that a “one-sided” article in the US magazine People meant the letter’s existence was already in the public domain.
It could be months before any trial takes place.
More broadly, online and television debate has raged as to whether tabloid coverage had been racist toward Meghan.
Departing Labour main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn “agrees” there were “to use Prince Harry’s words, racial undertones” in Meghan’s press coverage, his spokesman said.
Harry, 38, is due to resurface at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw.
He and Meghan, 38, want to step back as senior royals, work toward financial independence from the British taxpayer, split their time between the UK and Canada and ditch long-established pooled media access arrangements for royal engagements.
Despite Canadians’ affection for the royal couple, a large majority (73 percent) do not wish to foot security or other costs for their relocation, according to an Angus Reid Institute survey.
Canadian media have estimated the costs of protecting Prince Harry and Meghan at approximately Can$1.7 million ($1.3 million) per year.