April 19, 2021

The Lockdown Situation In South Africa Has Given The Lions Plenty Of Time And Space To Chill

With people now being isolated at their houses due to coronavirus situation, the wildlife seems to be blooming again. As hurtful as the situation is, it is still bringing out to life some heartwarming news. And the lions roaming and chilling freely on the streets of South Africa, Kruger National Park, is one of those.

These lions seem to have realized that people are not being around as usually to visit them at the park, so they have decided to take some time for themselves and to be big, lazy cats laying on the streets.

The photos were snapped by game ranger Richard Sowry while out on patrol earlier this week near the Orpen Rest Camp.

“These are difficult times for everyone and the intention was to bring people joy,” he told the BBC.

Since the Kruger National Park has been closed since March 25 due to the coronavirus lockdown, there are no more tourists’ vehicles wandering around, and the lions seem to have noticed that.

“This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see,” tweeted Kruger Wednesday. “This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.

“Lying on the road during the daytime is unusual because under normal circumstances there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush,” park spokesman Isaac Phaahla told CNN.

While the photos are striking, Phaahla said lockdown hasn’t led to many changes in animal behavior.

They just occupy places that they would normally shun when there are tourists,” he said. “People should remember that KNP is still a largely wild area and in the absence of humans, wildlife is more active.”

“We would like to thank the public for their on-going support in line with government’s strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID 19, we all have an obligation to flatten the curve,” SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said in the statement.

South African President,  President Cyril Ramaphosa, initially announced a 21-day lockdown, but in an April 8 announcement he extended the measures until at least the end of the month.