Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 9th, 2008
[Reports such as the following are rare, indeed, and do get us solidly back to a cryptozoological frame of mind. Needless to say, for those not knowing, melanistic lions - even in South Africa - are not scientifically verified. - LC]
A black lion known to exist is the guard of the Pszczyna castle, Poland, 15th century.
From Nelspruit, South Africa, comes this breaking story:
Big black lions are said to be roaming the streets of Matsulu township outside the Mpumalanga capital, terrifying residents who say they are too afraid to walk outside at night.
Residents have been making anonymous phone calls to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) about “black lions” that have escaped from the neighbouring Kruger National Park, said MTPA spokesperson Jimmy Masombuka on Thursday.
“We have been receiving these calls from frightened residents who tell us that they spotted black lions prowling the area,” he said.
He said that while the MTPA took the phone calls seriously, no lions have been found by officials sent to search the area.
“It is surprising for us to hear of black lions. But, although it’s hard to believe, you don’t just dismiss these kind of things. Maybe we are sitting on a great discovery,” he said.
No reports of attacks
Masombuka said some people who said they had seen may have mistaken the dark brown colours for black, or perhaps they had seen the lions at night.
He said it was possible the lions could have returned to the park without harming anyone.
“There have not been any reports of livestock being attacked by the animals. But, if livestock was eaten, we would have to hunt down and kill the lions because they would become a problem,” said Masombuka.
He warned residents not to try tackle the lions on their own, but to immediately report sightings to the MTPA.
He also warned people that if they came across dead lions, not to eat the meat as lions carried diseases that could harm people.
Masombuka said the MTPA previously had had to kill lions that had escaped from the Kruger Park into neighbouring communities where they had killed and eaten livestock.
Source: ‘Black lions’ terrify township 09/05/2008 09:10 – (SA) – News 24 – South Africa
Were black lions more common in the ancient days of the European cave lion or other European re-locations? The Black Lion on Lion St, Abergavenny, continues a tradition in the naming of some pubs in the UK.