Residents of eMpendle Village in Eshowe, located in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, embarked on a search for two lions that had entered their area on Sunday, 16th of July.
There were growing concerns after the unsuccessful attempt to locate two lions that were seen roaming around the village.
The lions were sighted by several locals of the village, who then informed other villagers about the situation.
Ezemvelo Wildlife was also contacted to assist in the search, and they responded accordingly.
However, despite their efforts, the search did not result in any successful findings, prompting them to call off the operation.
As a result, the villagers are concerned about the upcoming reopening of schools on the 18th of July.
Most of the children in the village walk to school, which raised worries among the community.
Thembelihle Zikode, 41 who is a villager said that, as much as she didn’t see the lions, she feared for her and her kids’ lives, who would have to walk to school.
“When the search started, I had high hopes that it would yield positive results because schools are reopening tomorrow. How are our children going to walk to school when these lions are still out there,” said Thembelihle.
Another villager, Themba Buthelezi, 57, said they fear that if these lions are not captured early, they will feed on their livestock.
Ward Councillor Bhekezakhe Makhathini assured the villagers that, they are in contact with relevant partners to come and assist them.
“We called Ezemvelo yesterday, and they will resume their search today. But they have educated us on how to handle the situation. As much as they have not confirmed that what people saw were lions, they claim that the description given to them fits that of the lions. We will meet the villagers again to discuss the way forward,” he said.
UMlalazi Mayor Queen Xulu applauded the swift response from the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in treating the matter with urgency.
“However, we are of a firm view that the efforts of the search should be multiplied and be escalated to relevant authorities and specialists with the necessary expertise to capture these lions. Our biggest worry is that these lions were spotted in residential areas along the uMbohlisa River.”
Xulu also called upon those who keep their livestock in the bushes to keep them safe before the lions feed on them.