Sci-tech

Lions eat rhino poachers on South African game reserve

Lions eat rhino poachers on South African game reserve

At least two suspected rhino poachers have been mauled to death and eaten by lions on a South African game reserve, officials say.

The reserve's statement said it is clear the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and that some of the poachers, if not all, were killed.

According to its website, Sibuya Game Reserve is located on the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape, approximately 130 kms from Port Elizabeth or East London.

Poaching, Fox said, is "becoming more and more common in the area" because rhino horns are coveted and believed to be "more valuable than gold".

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"They were thinking of spending time in the reserve looking for the rhinos", he said. This past Monday morning, around 4:30 AM, it is believed a group of three poachers entered the reserve with the intention of killing rhinos, but it appears the lions of the park interfered in time and attacked and ate the poachers!

A May 2018 "60 Minutes" report revealed that they are being slaughtered at the shocking rate of three a day at the hands of poachers like the group killed in Sibuya. "They use the rifle to shoot the animal and the ax to remove the horn".

"I was immediately called to the scene where, along with the Anti-Poaching Unit, we found the high-powered rifle, gloves, wire cutters and the remains of a backpack with food, water and other supplies", Fox said Thursday.

Fox says the handler of an anti-poaching dog heard a "loud commotion" coming from the lions early on Monday.

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Since the incident, police have been patrolling the area on the chance that any of the poachers survived.

The lions were shot with tranquilizer darts to protect reserve employees and police who were involved in the recovery effort on Wednesday.

South Africa, which is home to an estimated 80 per cent of the world's rhino population, is dealing with a poaching crisis. In 2017, poachers killed 1,028 rhinos in South Africa, according to National Geographic.

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