A gang of poachers learned the merciless rules of nature when they broke into a South African game preserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos and were instead eaten by a pride of lions.
“A head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs were found near the scene after at least three illegal hunters were devoured by the predators,” reports Mirror. “Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.”
The six lions had to be tranquilized in order for police to venture into the area and recover the poachers’ remains. The owner, Nick Fox, said as many as three poachers were eaten, according to the evidence.
“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,” said Fox. “They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.”
The poachers were most likely going to kill the rhinos for their horns. According to Save The Rhino, poaching is an international business, where rhinos are frequently killed for their horns, which are often used in Chinese medicine or displayed as a status symbol.
“Poachers are now being supplied by international criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos,” says the site. “Frequently a tranquiliser gun is used to bring the rhino down, before its horn is hacked off, leaving the rhino to wake up and bleed to death very painfully and slowly.”
“Poachers are often armed with guns themselves, making them very dangerous for the anti-poaching teams who put their lives on the line to protect rhinos.”
In 2016, the reserve lost three rhinos when poachers got into the park and shot them dead for their horns.