Stay away from fields, dangerous animals are on the loose! Lives of People in Kasungu in the Central Region of Malawi, are at risk as animals believed to be lions, have escaped from Kasungu National Park and are wondering about in some areas of the district.
While police in Kasungu confirmed that the animals are lions, Wildlife and Parks authorities say it is too early to conclude that they are lions because no one has seen them.
Director of Parks and Wild Life Bright Kumchedwa said the department got reports about the alleged lions but it was too early to say if the animals were indeed lions.
However, he said the department was not taking the tip lightly in case the animals were indeed lions. He said rangers were on the ground to track the animals but the communities are also being advised to stay away from fields.
Kumchedwa said the rangers were well equipped to face the animals. He said first option will mean the poachers catching the animals and taking them back to the park but in a situation where they turn to be violent and several lives (people) are at risk the rangers will have no choice but to gun them down.
“As of now I cannot confirm if the animals are lions unless our officers match the footprints with those of lions. The officers are on the ground tracing the animals but there are strange footprints in the area where people claim to have seen the animals.
“So we are calling on the communities to be on the lookout. They have to be very careful. They should not send children to go to maize fields or other areas until we have handled the situation,” said Kumchedwa.
Asked what could have forced the animals out of the park, Kumchedwa said decline in preys could force animals to go hunting while others could leave the park after being scared by poachers.
“Animals just like human being have senses. So some could migrate to other places to trace their roots,” said Kumchedwa.
Kasungu Police spokesperson Edna Mzingwitsa said the lions had been spotted in two different places. She said the lions were first seen at Lisazi and later in the area of T/A Njombwa but there were no reports of injuries.
She said when officers went to verify the claims, it was established that the lions were heading back to the park.
However, Mzingwitsa said the police were on the ground sensitising people to be on the guard. People are being told not to leave their homes until the situation is under control, said Mzingwitsa.