The Slatest

Suspected Rhino Poacher Trampled by Elephants and Eaten by Lions in South Africa

A white rhino is seen at the Kruger National Park on August 20, 2018.
A white rhino is seen at the Kruger National Park on August 20, 2018.
WIKUS DE WET/Getty Images

A suspected rhino poacher met a grisly demise at Kruger National Park in South Africa last week. He was part of a group of five suspected poachers who entered the park to allegedly kill rhinos but an elephant killed him and he was later “devoured” by a pride of lions, according to park officials. The family of the alleged poacher were told that their relative had been killed by an elephant and they requested the assistance of park officials to recover the remains.

“During this search, which was boosted with a further compliment of Field Rangers, the remains of a body were discovered,” South African National Parks said in a news release published Friday. “Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants. Skukuza police were notified immediately and are currently busy with further investigations into the incident.” The four other suspected poachers have been arrested.

A police officer told local news website TimesLive that the men had gone poaching in the park on April 1, “when suddenly an elephant attacked” and killed one member of their party. Members of his party then said they carried his body to the road “so that passers-by could find it in the morning” before they left the park. They then informed the dead man’s family about what happened and the family called park officials.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the diseased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains,” said Glenn Phillips, the park’s managing executive. Kruger National Park is a hotbed for poachers. Of the 680 arrests involving poaching and trafficking charges in 2016, 417 took place in and around Kruger, according to CNN. This is hardly the first time suspected poachers were killed by animals. Last July, as many as three suspected poachers in South Africa were killed by lions.