Sylvester, South Africa’s famous escaping lion is now a father!

Sylvester, one of South Africa’s most loved lions and his lioness mate Angel, have become proud parents of two little lion cubs! The courtship happened during the first week of March this year and the cubs are approximately 12 weeks old and in good health.

Angel and her cubs seen for the first time at Kuzuko Lodge on 10 September 2018. Photo: Kuzuko Lodge

Sylvester rose to fame after escaping twice and walking more than 370km outside of the Karoo National Park. His future was uncertain. He was labelled a “damage-causing-animal” that would be euthanised when caught.

South Africans and people from around the world came to Sylvester’s defence using the #SaveSylvester hashtag calling on authorities to spare the lions life. Sylvester the lion was almost euthanized because people simply didn’t understand that he was running for his life and needed a territory of his own and a coalition partner to join up with.

Since then, Sylvester has safely been at Kuzuko Lodge, a member of Legacy Hotels & Resorts, for more than two years and settled into a tight knit coalition with his male counterpart Fielies. Kuzuko Lodge is built high up on a hill in a 15 000ha private game reserve located in the Malaria free greater Addo area in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

Now, the proud father of two lion cubs, Sylvester and his lioness Angel, have showed us the true power of Mother Nature and defied all odds to become 100% integrated lions in the wild.

Sylvester and Angel at Kuzuko Lodge, South Africa. Photo: Kuzuko Lodge

“We have two lionesses in the reserve with whom the two male lions have established a close bond,” says Gerhard de Lange, Reserve General Manager at Kuzuko Lodge. “Although both lionesses were on contraception we started to suspect that Sylvester’s lioness, Angel, had given birth between 15 – 20 June of this year.

“Angel showed all the signs of having cubs suckling her, but as lionesses keep their babies ‘hidden’ for quite a period while they are very young – we hadn’t been able to spot them.

On Monday, 10 September the Kuzuko Lodge team’s suspicions were confirmed, as Angel and her two little cubs started moving around together and they were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them!

Sylvester himself has paid the mother of his cubs a few visits since they were born, so the cubs are sure to get the protection they need. The two little cubs have adopted their father’s good looks and are fit and healthy.

Sylvester and Angel’s cubs seen for the first time. Photo: Kuzuko Lodge

Their mother Angel, is another Kuzuko success story as she herself was rescued at five months old with her sister as an orphan and instead of being tamed or raised in captivity, De Lange and his reserve team raised them to be 100% wild.

This lion and lioness are an incredible conservation story, both Sylvester and Angel, who by all rights shouldn’t even be alive, are now parents.

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