Residents fear poverty if predators not captured

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

Residents living near the Kruger National Park are concerned that lions could kill more of their livestock.

Three cows were attacked and killed last week at Mutele, west of the park's Pafuri gate.

The residents now want the government to reimburse them.

Tshililo Mutele, who represents the farmers, said that cattle herders said they had spotted lion tracks and were certain that the lions had killed the cows.

"We are very sad. Most of our people depend on animal farming and if the roaming lions eat our livestock, surely poverty is upon us," Mutele said.

He said that residents were also afraid to collect their animals from the bush because they could be attacked too.

The Limpopo government spokesman, Lehlohonolo Masoga, said that rangers will not rest until they have captured the lions.

About reimbursing the residents, Masoga said that nothing had been discussed because no formal complaint from livestock owners had been received.

"We will definitely discuss the matter if we get complaints," he said.

Villagers in Makuleke, Bevula and Mhinga are still waiting for government compensation for lost livestock after lions attacked their animals in 2005.

A spokesman for Kruger, Raymond Travers, said they were willing to help.

"When wild animals flee the park they become the property of the Limpopo government, but if we are told, we help to hunt the animals," Travers said.