A gang of poachers have been eaten by lions after breaking into a South African game reserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos. At least three hunters are believed to have been devoured by the predators with one head being recovered at the scene along with a number of bloodied body parts and limbs. Staff discovered the bloody remnants at the Sibuya Game Reserve near Kenton-on-Sea in Eastern Province, South Africa, and called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.
When none were found and the area was declared safe a vet tranquilised the six lions in the pride so that police and staff could go inside and recover the remains of the mauled poachers. Owner Nick Fox, 60, said: ‘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.
‘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.‘But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal. ‘Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life, the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner’.
The game reserve is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape with British tourists and is home to the Big Five of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and is set in 30 square miles.