CAPE TOWN, June 9, Xinhua -- South Africa on Tuesday launched a massive search for a lion and issued a warning to the public after it broke loose from a park.


A lion is seen inside a cage in the Foundation Friends of the Nicaraguan Zoo in Managua, Nicaragua, on Feb. 23, 2015.

The lion escaped from the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West, the Western Cape Province over the weekend, the South African National Parks (SANParks) said.

SANParks urged people in the area to be on the lookout for the lion.

Members of the public who may see the lion or any signs of it are requested not to confront it and to contact the park.

Park Management was alerted when a farmer reported that he'd seen lion spoor on his land. The park's trackers were immediately deployed to follow the spoor together with the farmer.

A helicopter that was in the park for a wildlife census at the time was also dispatched to assist in the search. A gemsbok carcass was put out in the hope of attracting the lion, but the lion had not yet been located.

Both aerial and foot patrols have not yet yielded the desired results. Although the trackers picked up the lion's spoor on a number of occasions, the terrain is mountainous, with many river valleys, thus making tracking difficult, said Fayroush Ludick SANParks' Regional Manager for Communications.

The lion is a three-year-old male, believed to have been forced out of the Karoo National Park by older males. It is suspected he escaped through a hole under the fence line after damage caused by heavy rains last week.

Tracker teams, including tracking dogs and their handlers, have been sent from Addo Elephant and Mountain Zebra National Parks to assist in the search. The aerial and foot patrols are still ongoing.

Just one week ago, an American tourist was killed by a lioness at the Lion Park outside Johannesburg after she ignored warning signs and left the vehicle window wide open.