Over the last few years, the vast diversity of animals in the Sibuya Game reserve in South Africa attracts different poachers. A group of poachers have broken into the reserve to hunt rhinos and has been devoured by a pack of hungry lions.

The home for 80% of all rhinos in the world is South Africa. There are currently about 29,000 rhinos, and in 2017, 1,028 rhino were poached.

Because Poachers are in high demand in Southeast Asia as they are believed to contain strong medicinal properties, and go for as much as $100,000 per kilogram they are attracted by their horns.

A poacher could potentially make up to $300,000 off a single rhino horn as they are about two to seven pounds each. The horn of a white rhino sells for up to $3,000 a pound on the South African black market, and in China, rhino horns and ivory from elephants are in high demand as they are used in carvings for artwork.

Nick Fox, the owner of the park said that the poachers were eaten alive by the pride of lions sometime between the evening of July 1 and the early morning of July 2. There were only little remains were left, so that it was hard for investigators to specify the number of people killed.

Fox said:

“The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone.”

They have come to a conclusion that they were three men according to the three sets of gloves and shoes. And also the typical rhino poaching groups contains three people.

One of the dogs of the reserve has given a warning that something was wrong at around 4:30 a.m. on July 2, and also its handler heard a commotion from the lions. He didn’t investigate further as such things often happened in that time of the morning.

After sometime, one of the rangers stumbled upon the bloodied remains, and notified the police. A gear scattered throughout the bushes, a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an ax, and wire cutters “which is a surefire sign of rhino poachers” was found by them.

Even though a search party enlisted the help of a helicopter to look for any survivors, they haven’t found anything. But also detectives are investigating the exact number of people eaten.

Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender explained:

“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”.

Fox 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.”

The Sun, in 2018, said that, “already nine rhinos — all of which were shot with a high-caliber hunting rifle — have been killed by poachers on Eastern Cape reserves and it is hoped this is the gang responsible.

In February, a poacher hunting lions in the Umbabat Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park was killed by lions and was identified by his sister in law from all that remained his head.”

The owner Fox said that this incident is very sad. But this is a warning for other poachers not to risk their lives by illegally hunting game.

He added:

“Whilst we have 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 lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal.”

sources used: beyondblindfold.com