As South Africa Stays Indoors Due To Lockdown, Lions Relax And Take Naps In The Roads

Lockdown measures due to the coronavirus pandemic seem to be beneficial for nature. While we feel like animals trapped in cages, animals finally feel free to roam their natural habitats.

A set of photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park, taken by park ranger Richard Sowry, reveals a pride of lions, at least eight of them, including a few young cubs, enjoying the sun outside and carelessly shading on a road.

Sowry was on routine patrol when he noticed the big cats, which are normally seen on the roads only on colder nights in the winter.  He pulled up just five meters (5.5 yards) away, to look at the strange phenomenon, and took the photos with his mobile phone.

He explained that lions are used to people in vehicles, and “all animals have much more of an instinctive fear of people on foot, so if I had walked up they would never have allowed me to get so close.”

The National Park tweeted:

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

Typically, the place would be crowded with tourists and guides, and park spokesman Isaac Phaahla explained:

“Lying on the road during the daytime is unusual because under normal circumstances there would be traffic and that pushes them into the bush. 

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

Recently, the captain of the Skukuza golf club, Jean Rossouw, photographed lions and hyenas enjoying their time at the golf club. The pictures reveal lionesses drinking from the ponds and chasing hyenas across the terrain.  

Earlier, park officials shared a video of wild dogs playing in the area as well.

Due to South Africa’s nationwide lockdown, the park has been closed to the public since March 25. President Cyril Ramaphosa initially announced a 21-day lockdown, but on April 8, he extended the measures until at least the end of April.

Yet, the South African National Parks (SANParks) explained that activities like food delivery, security and emergency services, and wildlife crime operations go on.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said:

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