With South Africa in Lockdown, The Lions Are Taking It Very Easy
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
NOTE: this article was originally published to CNN.com on April 17, 2020. It was written by Jack Guy.
New photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park show a pride of lions lounging in a normally busy road.
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.
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.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown 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.
📸Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
“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.
Kruger National Park is currently shut as part of South Africa’s nationwide lockdown.
“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.”
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.
“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.