Lions fatally maul poachers who broke into reserve to hunt rhinos

Ismael LynchJul 06, 2018

At least two rhino poachers were eaten by lions on a South African game farm, according to the reserve's owner.

Rangers discovered human remains around 4:30 p.m. local time on July 3 in the immediate vicinity of the lions' territory at the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape, more than 24 hours after an anti-poaching dog alerted her handler that something was amiss.

The remains of what appears to be three bodies were discovered on the Simbuya Game Reserve along with high power rifles owner Nick Fox said in a statement.

Mr Fox said: 'The lions may have eaten more of them it is hard to tell as the area is very thick with bush and you can not be sure what they have taken off to feed on elsewhere.

"We're nearly 100% sure this is connected to rhino poaching", reserve owner Nick Fox said.

Along with bones and bloodied body parts, staff found a hunting rifle, an axe, wire cutters and food supplies, according to The Herald Live. Fox said the reserve is arranging to tranquilize the pride of lions so that police forensic teams can investigate the deaths.

The popular game reserve, which covers 30 square miles, is also home to the rest of Africa's big five - elephant, buffalo and leopard. In 2016, poachers successfully killed three of the reserve's rhinos and made off with their severed horns.

Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.

Nine rhinos have been killed with high-caliber hunting rifles at Eastern Cape reserves so far this year. Others are attempting to save the animals by removing them from the wild and, instead, farming them like cattle. "The remains were scattered over a very wide area making it hard to comb the scene and get all the evidence‚" he said.

Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed that the remains had been found in the lion camp and that detectives were on the scene trying to work out how many were eaten.

"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". Fox said it was impossible to know how many people were killed.

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