The remains of at least three suspected poachers were found on the Sibuya Game Reserve, eaten by a pride of lions.
The head and various body parts were found in the Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa reserve. Alongside them; wirecutters, an axe, hunting rifles — at least one with a silencer attached — and three pairs of shoes. Officials believe the group was attempting to steal rhinoceros horns when they were attacked. A police helicopter searched for survivors, but none were found.
“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,” owner owner Nick Fox said. “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.”
Unfortunately for the would-be poachers, “the lions are our watchers and guardians, and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal,” according to Fox. Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender was less definitive, saying, “We do not know identities, but firearms have been taken by the police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to see if they have been used in poaching before,” they said.
Rhinos have had a rough go in the Sibuya province lately. Nine have been slain in 2018 alone, including three in nearby Port Alfred, and one on the Kragga Kamma Game Park near Port Elizabeth. It is a growing problem: Over 7,000 rhinoceros have been killed in the last decade, after reaching a low of just 13 poached in 2007.
The slain Sibuya poachers may have evaded justice, they simply failed to break the laws of nature.