Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Rhino poachers eaten by lions in South Africa

Rhino poachers eaten by lions in South Africa

At least three suspected poachers have been mauled to death and eaten by lions after breaking into a wildlife reserve in South Africa.

Sibuya Game Reserve owner Nick Fox said in a statement that anti-poaching dogs alerted reserve staff that "something was amiss" in the early morning hours of July 2.

Poachers killed three rhinos on the reserve in 2016, Fox told Eyewitness News. Her handler heard a commotion from the lions.

"They were armed with high-powered rifles with silencers and an axe for the horns and wire cutters and side arms and they had enough food with them to last for many days", noted Fox.

"Clearly the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed", Fox said.

Nature's justice: At least three poachers are believed to have been eaten by lions at the Sibuya Game Reserve.

"The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone", he told Newsweek.

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Several pairs of empty shoes were discovered, indicating that the lions ate the men, although staff say that more remains may be hidden in the thick bush.

The lions were tranquilized while a search for remains was conducted, according to CNN.

The game reserve is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape with British tourists and is home to the Big Five of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and is set in 30 square miles.

Detectives combed the scene on Wednesday, and the remains have been sent for forensic testing.

The Eastern Cape are is a "hotbed for rhino poaching", The South African reports, with nine rhinos having already fallen victim to poachers this year. "The remains were scattered over a very wide area making it hard to comb the scene and get all the evidence‚" he said.

"The firearm has been taken by police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to establish if it has been used in any other poaching or crimes".

And in perhaps the most heartbreaking act of conservation, park rangers in some parts of Africa are preemptively removing rhinos' horns so that poachers won't be tempted to kill the animals for them.

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