Big cats nap on road in South Africa amid lockdown
Whether it’s goats in Wales or wild boar in Italy, animals around the world appear to be adjusting well to life without humans during the coronavirus outbreak.
Even lions are enjoying the peace and quiet, a set of new photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows.
Lions and other wild animals have been taking advantage of the peace and quiet in South Africa’s vast Kruger national park as the country’s strict lockdown continues.
On Thursday, park ranger Richard Sowry took photographs of a pride of at least eight lions, including a few young cubs, snoozing on the tarmac just outside one of the park’s rest lodges.
The images show a pride of lions lounging on a road, seemingly unperturbed by the presence of the photographer, park ranger Richard Sowry.
“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.”
On a normal day, the area would be busy with tourists, but Kruger has been shut since March 25 as part of South Africa’s nationwide lockdown to combat coronavirus.
Although visitors are banned, food delivery, fuel provision, security and emergency services as well as wildlife crime operations are continuing, South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement.
“Everybody realises the importance of the lockdown and the rangers are there to do their normal duties,” says media officer Isaac Phaala. “To maintain the infrastructure takes quite a bit of work so that when the park opens, you don’t start from scratch.”
As for the lions, he adds, “normally they would be in the bushes because of the traffic but they are very smart and now they are enjoying the freedom of the park without us”.
But why anyway, you might ask, would lions prefer tarmac to the softness of grass?
Probably for the simple reason that it had been raining on Tuesday night and, as Mr Phaala explained, “The tar was drier than the grass at the time – big cats and water don’t mix.”