Sylvester settling down

NO WAY OUT: Sylvester the escape artist is settling into his new home at Addo Picture: ATHENA O’REILLY
NO WAY OUT: Sylvester the escape artist is settling into his new home at Addo
Picture: ATHENA O’REILLY

Restless lion starts to assert himself, socialise with new-found friend

Sylvester the escape-artist lion has settled into his enclosure at Addo Elephant National Park and has formed a strong bond with a younger male lion called Fillies.

Arguably South Africa’s most famous lion after he escaped twice within months from the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West, Sylvester will be released into a bigger enclosure at Kuzuko Lodge with two females in March.

The boma that he shares with Fillies is in the middle of the enclosure.

Kuzuko general manager Gerhard de Lange said Sylvester had initially lost his cool when two other dominant lions within the enclosure kept intimidating him.

“We have come to realise Sylvester is not a lion that wants to be alone. All he wanted was to find a coalition partner,” De Lange said.

He said once Sylvester was paired with Fillies, they had formed a bond within two days.

“When he came here he was still in that nomadic phase, he paced the boma’s fence in a clockwise fashion, but now he has started to roar and spray.”

De Lange said Sylvester was showing that he wanted to take charge of the area.

“It is fantastic to see these small little things happen.” He said Sylvester had at first acted aggressively towards Fillies but that had quickly changed.”

“With Fillies in the enclosure, it encourages Sylvester to eat more of the carcasses fed to him. Before he would take his time and play with it,” De Lange said.

He said Sylvester was not keen on warthog but preferred kudu instead.

“The park is trying to cram two years of boma-training into six months with the escape-artist lion before his release , ” De Lange said.

Sylvester first escaped from the Karoo park in June last year, sparking a threeweek search because his collar malfunctioned.

He earned himself the nickname “Spook” as all park staff could see for days as the search continued during his 400km trek was his spoor.

He escaped again in March, but was found three days later.

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