Campaign against killing escaped lion

A lion and a lioness rest at Lion Park, near Pretoria, on June 29, 2010.Image copyright

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South Africa has a large lion population

Animal rights campaigners are urging a South African game park to reverse its decision to put down a lion who escaped on Sunday.

The lion, called Sylvester, crawled under an electric fence after heavy rains dislodged earth, according to a Karoo National Park spokeswoman.

The park authorities intend to use a helicopter to find the lion.

He was fitted with a tracking collar after he was on the loose for three weeks last year.

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Last June, Sylvester went on a sheep-killing spree, wandering 300km (180 miles) before he was found taking a nap by rangers and airlifted from the Nuweveld Mountains in Western Cape.

On his current escape, he has already travelled at least 20km (12 miles) and killed a cow, according to AFP news agency.

On Tuesday night South Africa National Parks tweeted that it is a difficult decision to put down the lion once they find him.

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The hashtag #SaveSylvester has been trending in South Africa since Wednesday morning as campaigners urge the parks to reverse their decision.

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Meanwhile in Kenya, another lion was shot dead by a ranger on Wednesday after he escaped from a park in Nairobi.

Several lions have escaped from the park in recent weeks.

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