Hi-tech help to recapture Karoo lion

Image: Daniel Born

The search for a lion missing from the Karoo National Park in the Northern Cape since February 15 has taken a new turn – a security company has offered to help using hi-tech tracing technology.

Last week‚ the search team found spoor 60km from the park’s boundary‚ to the north.

On Friday‚ it picked up the spoor again about 110km northwest of the park.

SANParks said Bidvest Protea Coin had sent a specialised team to help find the animal‚ believed to be a young male, which escaped from the reserve near Beaufort West.

Bidvest chief operations officer Waal de Waal said the company had one of only two helicopters in the country fitted with forward-looking thermalimaging infrared cameras.

These cameras would allow the search team to pick up “heat signatures” on the ground over a radius of 10km when flying at night.

“Though this is not Bidvest’s core business‚ we are keen to help due to the unique circumstances of the case‚ our love for animals and conservation‚ and because our specialised equipment is perfectly suited to the requirements and conditions‚” De Waal said.

The four-person team from Centurion in Gauteng will meet Karoo National Park manager Nico van der Walt and his group of rangers and trackers to discuss the plan of action.

The Bidvest team will assist in the search for three days.

Van der Walt welcomed the assistance from Bidvest, which would give the tracking team an advantage over the lion.