Car-nivore alert: Gang of 'tyre-biting' lions prowls the Kruger Park
Visitors to the Kruger National Park's (KNP) are urged to be on the lookout for a pride of 'tyre-biting' lions on the prowl.
KNP management said it has received reports of a large pride of lions north of Satara, which are showing abnormal behaviour around vehicles such as the biting of tyres.
Visitors who come across this pride are urged to keep their windows closed. Those travelling in open safari vehicles have been told to remain silent and keep all limbs within the structure of the vehicle.
"We would like to appeal to the open safari vehicle operators specifically to be on the lookout as the behaviour of the pride is of concern and might pose danger to occupants," KNP Managing Executive Glenn Phillips said in a statement.
Veterinary Wildlife Services will be collaring one of the lions to monitor its movements and will also mark all members of the pride to allow for identification.
It's not the first time a big cat has been caught biting a car's tyres. A video surfaced last year of a lion nibbling on a tyre - only to get a fright when it exploded.
A lion got the fright of its life when the tyre it was chewing on exploded.
According to park management, if this unlikely scenario should happen to you, don't try and change the tyre yourself. Instead call the park administration to send a breakdown service. If you aren't within cellphone range, get a passing vehicle to do so once it is in cellphone range.
How you can help
The park is asking for visitors who have come across this pride to share any videos or photos they may have taken to the park's social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). This will help identify whether it is only a specific member of the pride engaging in the unusual behaviour or whether the entire pride is involved.
Visitors are also asked to photograph the lions in such a way to capture branding marks or ear notches.
What would you do if a pride of 15 lions came towards you?
However, safety comes first.
“We also request visitors not to get too close to any animals for footage at a sighting, or refrain from placing any items on the vehicle exterior or tyres which might attract and encourage animals to approach the vehicle,” said Phillips.
You can report any encounters to the Emergency Call Centre on 013-735-4064 or 076-801-9679.