Watch: Stuffed lion scares runners in Big 5 reserve

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 6 September 2019

The iMfolozi Outrun is a two-day stage race for trail runners held annually in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (formerly Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve), in KwaZulu-Natal. This year the event was held between 31 August and 1 September, with runners covering 19km on the first day of the race, followed by 15km on day two.

Because the race takes place within the game reserve, the chances of encountering wildlife, including the Big 5, are fairly high and the organisers of the event saw this as the perfect opportunity to prank the 300 participants.

To do this, the iMfolozi team positioned a stuffed lion next to a bush along the trail. Some people immediately spotted the fake and others ran past without noticing it, while some of the runners got a rather big fright.

In addition to a fake lion, on the second day of the race, runners did get to see a herd of elephants that crossed the road a kilometre from the finish line. The park’s anti-poaching unit (in a helicopter) encouraged the elephants to move along so that runners could complete the race.

The race raises funds for the IMPI Foundation Trust and projects within the reserve, such as the removal of fast-growing bush.

Image credit: Facebook/iMfolozi Outrun

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