Gang of Poachers Eaten by Lions After They Broke into South African Game Reserve
A gang of poachers who broke into a South African game reserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos were attacked and eaten by a pride of hungry lions.
A head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs were found near the scene after at least three illegal hunters were devoured by the predators.
Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.
A vet then had to tranquilise the six lions so police could go inside and recover the remains of the mauled poachers.
Owner Nick Fox, 60, said:
“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggests to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more.
They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.
They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.
But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal.
Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner."
The remains of the bodies were found as darkness fell on Tuesday.
Staff had to wait until Wednesday morning until the area could be declared safe to go in and recover what was left
A police spokeswoman confirmed the grim discovery was made in the lion camp.
Captain Mali Govender said:
“We do not know [their] identities but firearms have been taken by the police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to see if they have been used in poaching before."
The game reserve is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape with British tourists. It is home to elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions, and leopards, and is 30 square miles.
In 2016, the reserve lost three rhinos when poachers got into the park and shot them dead for their horns.
Nine rhinos -- all of which were shot with a high-calibre hunting rifle -- have been killed by poachers on Eastern Cape reserves already this year.
It is hoped the gang eaten by lions are responsible for the deaths.