The North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT) says that the 14 lions that had escaped from the Elandsfontein farm private facility in Lichtenburg have been recaptured on Saturday. The department had initially said that 19 lions escaped from the private property.

DEDECT says they believe the lions escaped from their enclosure on Friday night. The department then dispatched its problem animal control unit to recapture the animals.

The department says it believes the lions escaped through a fence cut by poachers.

“It is believed that there was an attempt to poach the animals as their cage fence was found to have been cut at the back.”

On Saturday morning, the police in the province said 11 of the lions had been recaptured and they were still trying to locate the missing three. DEDECT later reported on Twitter that the remaining three lions had been found.

The department has thanked its officials, law enforcement and the community for their efforts in finding the lions.