Rhino Poachers Killed & Eaten By Lions At South African Game Reserve

A pride of lions have killed and eaten a group of suspected rhino poachers at the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa. Some bloodied remains and some poaching equipment were all that was left of the illegal hunters.

A ride of lions has eaten a group of suspected Rhino poachers at Rhinos seen at the Sibuya Game Reserve
A pride of lions has eaten a group of suspected Rhino poachers at Rhinos seen at the Sibuya Game Reserve

The Sibuya Game Reserve near the town of Kenton-on-Sea in South Africa has seen an increase over the last few years of poachers intruding on the reserve, mainly looking to hunt rhinos.

Rangers working on the reserve found the remains of at least two but potentially three, suspected rhino poachers who had been mauled to death and eaten by the lions in what many are calling natural karma.

The owner of the reserve, Nick Fox, said that so little of the remains of the poachers were left by the lions that it made it impossible for authorities to confirm exactly how many had been killed.

Mr Fox said: "The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone."

The 30-square-mile reserve located in the South African province of Eastern Cape, Sibuya is home to leopards, buffalos, elephants, rhinos, and lions.

Mr Fox told authorities that at approximately 4.30am on July 2, anti-poaching dogs on the reserve gave the signal that something was wrong. The dogs' handler recalled hearing a commotion coming from the direction of the lions but didn't investigate as the behaviour was typical of the lions in the early morning.

A ranger later discovered the bloodied remains of the poachers. When police arrived at the reserve they discovered equipment scattered throughout the bushes, including a high-powered rifle with a silencer, wire cutters, and an axe. Mr Fox said that the finds were "a surefire sign of rhino poachers."

Rhinos seen at the Sibuya Game Reserve
Rhinos seen at the Sibuya Game Reserve

Police are still trying to determine the exact number of people killed by the lions. Authorities used a helicopter to search the area looking for survivors, however, none were found.

Mr Fox added: "We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more."

Poaching has seen a dramatic rise due to a growing demand for rhino horns in parts of Asia. 1,028 rhinos were poached across South Africa in 2017 according to figures published by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.

Rhino horns are in high demand in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam because they are believed to contain strong medicinal properties, which is completely false, the horns are made of the same material as human fingernails.

In these areas rhino horns can fetch as much as $100,000 per kilogram, making it a lucrative trade for the poachers.

Mr Fox said that the incident should send a message to other poachers who are considering risking their lives for financial gain by illegally hunting on his reserve, he said: "The lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal."

Only around 29,000 rhinos remain in the world, and approximately 80 percent of them live in South Africa.

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