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Endangered lioness killed after escaping farm in South Korea


By Jessie Yeung and Gawon Bae, CNN

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — An endangered lioness was shot dead in South Korea on Monday, an hour after escaping a private farm, according to local officials.

The lioness escaped its cage Monday morning in Goryeong county, in North Gyeongsang Province, about 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) south of the capital Seoul, according to a county official. It’s a mountainous area with just over 30,000 residents.

The escape prompted a search operation involving 127 police officers and 26 fire department personnel, according to the regional fire service. Authorities issued an alert urging residents to stay away from nearby Bukdu mountain.

About an hour after the escape was reported, the lioness was shot dead in the woods, about four to five kilometers (about 2.5 to 3.1 miles) from the farm, according to the county official.

Photos released by the fire service show the lioness before she was killed, peering out from a tangle of bushes and leaves.

The private farm also owns cows, but has no other lion or lionesses, said the county official.

The lioness had been registered with the Daegu Regional Environmental Office as an international endangered species, an official from the agency confirmed to CNN.

Any transfer and death of a registered animal needs to be reported to the office, which also conducts inspections of their living facilities, the official added. It is unclear when the last inspection of this lioness was conducted.

Lions are currently listed as “vulnerable” under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, with the population continuing to decrease due to habitat loss, the decline of prey species, trophy hunting and conflict with humans.

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