© Trond Larsen
A lion in Kruger National Park, South Africa. (© Trond Larsen)

Editor’s note: A recent case of escaped lions in South Africa’s Kruger National Park illustrates the tension that can exist between people and wildlife around protected areas. In the coming weeks, Human Nature will feature a series of stories from the communities surrounding Kruger, exploring the challenges — and opportunities — they face in living next to one of Africa’s most famous wildlife reserves.

Three lions that escaped from Kruger National Park earlier this week have been killed, according to multiple news reports.

The tragic conclusion follows a days-long search by park rangers in the villages surrounding Kruger. Residents were warned by park officials to “exercise extreme caution” in going about their daily lives. This week’s search is the second time this year that lions have escaped Kruger into nearby communities.

According to Keith Roberts, Conservation International’s executive director for wildlife trafficking, escaped animals represent just one example of how difficult it can…