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July 24, 2017

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Four lions have escaped from a national park in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — South African rangers were Monday searching for four male lions that escaped from the country's flagship Kruger National Park, a spokesman for the national wildlife parks said.

The lions were seen late Sunday near a road a few kilometers from the park, SANParks spokesman William Mabasa said by phone.

It was not known how the lions got out of the park, most of which is fenced.

The Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga province, where part of the Kruger Park is located, said it was helping rangers and police in their search.

"We urge the communities to be alert and inform us of any sightings," said Johannes Nobunga, chief executive officer of the agency.

"The terrain in which the search is being conducted poses some challenges for the team, however we will continue to work with farm owners and the community in the area to provide us with any information that will assist us with this operation," he added in a statement.

The escape of the four lions followed that of five lions in May. Four of them were captured and taken back to the park, but the fifth one has not been found. Mabasa said it may have returned to the park by itself.

Lions occasionally wander out of the Kruger Park, a wildlife area the size of Israel. "Sometimes an entire year passes without lions escaping, and in other years we have a few cases of them escaping," Mabasa said.

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