At least three suspected poachers who were apparently hunting for rhinos have been mauled to death and eaten by lions on a game reserve in South Africa, reported UK’s media outlet The Telegraph.
The men were armed with a high-powered rifle and an axe. The report suggested that the poachers may have entered the game reserve on the southeast coast in the early hours of Monday. They were found dismembered on Tuesday.
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The reserve owner Nick Fox told AFP news agency that the poachers strayed into a pride of lions and thus had little chance of escaping.
“We’re not sure how many there were – there’s not much left of them.”
Mr Fox also told the news agency that the poachers were dismembered to a state that it can the investigating teams could not immediately confirm how many poachers were there in total. “There seems to be clothing for three people. I’ve not heard of it before in our area,” he said.
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Police forensics officers were on the scene conducting tests on the remains of the victims, Mr Fox added.
“We went in yesterday – I got our vet to dart [anesthetize] all the lions,” he said. “I think we had a stroke of luck here that the lions got to them before they got to the rhinos.” He also told the press that hey lost three rhino in March 2016.
Fewer than 25,000 rhinos remain in the wild in Africa due to a surge in poaching.