- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A South African lion who escaped twice from a national park since last year is being moved to another park where, officials say, there is little chance of a breakout.

The male lion dubbed Sylvester will be sedated and transported by road Friday from Karoo National Park to Addo Elephant National Park, where two sets of electrified fences should discourage any getaway attempt, said Fayroush Ludick, a spokeswoman for the national parks service. Even if he got past those two barriers, Sylvester would still be within the larger park area, she said.

There are hopes that Sylvester will eventually head a pride after bonding with two female cubs in a large enclosure at his new home. In the long term, the lions will be released into the wild.

Sylvester first escaped from the Karoo park in June last year and was on the run for more than three weeks, killing livestock and raising concerns about threats to people in the arid, sparsely populated area. He was then fitted with a satellite tracking collar that alerted officials to the lion’s second, three-day escape from the park in March.

During the second escape, wildlife officials dropped plans to kill Sylvester after an outcry from people who said he should be captured and relocated.

Karoo park staff also know the lion by the nickname “Spook,” which means “Ghost” in Afrikaans.

In both breakouts, Sylvester - or Spook - slipped under a fence where rain had washed away soil. Ludick said the lion may have been pushed out of the area by a dominant male lion, though Sylvester won’t have such a rival at the Addo Elephant park.

Sylvester has stayed in a Karoo enclosure since his last breakout.

“He’s been behaving,” Ludick said.


Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris



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