The sad deaths of the escaped Kruger Park lions this week graphically underlines the head-on collision of the priorities an escalating human population and the shrinking environment of the world’s wildlife across the globe.
Two of the three lions who left the confines of the park were shot by a farmer in Mpumalanga, who killed one and wounded another after his cattle were attacked.
The injured animal and the third of the three males who escaped were later tracked by armed parks officials and killed.
Though this tragic end was almost inevitable since the lions made their bid for freedom, there can be no doubt that civilisation would override any considerations of the wild, which has never fully respected the artificial boundaries imposed on them by man.
Lions – especially dominant males – are by their very nature territorial, their demarcated domain often stretching over vast tracts of land, and more than capable of running off any male challengers to their dominion or mates.
But somehow, with the list of endangered species growing almost daily, the deaths of three animals designated as kings of the beasts strike an off-key chord in the symphony of an uncomfortable coexistence between man and beast.