Pride of lions kill group of suspected rhino poachers inside South African game reserve park
KENTON-ON-SEA, South Africa—Nearly all that remained at the scene was evidence of probable poachers caught in the act.
A high-powered rifle equipped with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and some food supplies accompanied the nearby human remains that were left.
The remains belonged to a suspected group of rhino poachers, according to Nick Fox, owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa.
An initial investigation conducted a day after the Monday, July 2, incident reveals the details behind the apparent dismembering of the poachers.
According to a news release on the Sibuya Game Reserve Facebook page:
During the late-evening or early-morning hours of July 1 or July 2, a group of at least three poachers entered the South African safari park.
The suspected poachers entered the park with “all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns,” said Fox.
Later that morning, at approximately 4:30 a.m., one of the parks anti-poaching dogs alerted its handler that something in the park didn’t seem right. At the same time, the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions, which she then suspected was the reasoning behind why the dog got her attention to begin with.
However, Fox said, after an initial investigation, it appeared the dog had been alerted by something else that was out of the ordinary coming from the pride of lions inside the park.
The next day, on July 3, one of four field guides alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains as well as other items in the immediate vicinity of the lions.
“Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all, had been killed,” Fox said.
At this stage in the investigation, it is not known how many poachers were killed in the incident.
Following the attack, the lions were shot with a anesthetized dart so forensic teams could sift through the immediate area for further clues.
Generally, Fox said, this specific group of lions does not react to a game vehicle containing people the same way it views individuals who are walking on the ground without a vehicle.
“At Sibuya Game Reserve, we only view game from specialised game-viewing vehicles and not on foot due to the extremely dense bush and this forest on the reserve,” Fox said. “Although we will continue to be extremely vigilant, we remain positive that this incident will not necessitate any changes to the status quo of our lions.”