Suspected rhino poachers killed by lions at South African reserve

Friday, 06 Jul, 2018

In a stunning instance of the animal kingdom taking karma into its own hands - or rather, paws - at least three poachers were mauled to death and then eaten by lions earlier this week after they illegally entered the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa to hunt rhinos.

"We suspect two were killed, possibly three", Sibuya owner Nick Fox said. The firearms have been taken by the police for examination, to find out if they have been used in poaching before.

At least three men made their way onto the Sibuya Game Reserve in the early hours of the morning on Monday.

Fox said he suspected more than one person was attacked by the lions - based on the evidence found on the scene. "But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal".

Rhinoceroses are valued for their horns, which are falsely thought to have medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties in some cultures and are also used to create works of art. Fox said all six of the lions had to be tranquilized before the poachers' remains could be recovered.

The 30 square mile park is home to all of Africa's "Big Five" - rhinos, lions, elephants, buffalos, and leopards. They were "armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an ax, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days", according to a press release.

According to CNN, a guide at Sibuya Game Reserve spotted what was believed to be human remains near a pride of lions.

More than 7,000 rhinos have been killed in South Africa in the last decade, including nine that were shot dead for their horns on Eastern Cape reserves already this year, the Mirror UK reported.

"They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns".

Investigators were unable to examine the scene for evidence Tuesday night and were forced to wait for daylight.

Police have not identified the slain humans, and they're testing the rifle to determine whether they were poachers. Fox said it was impossible to know how many people were killed.