A suspected rhino poacher was killed by an elephant before his body was apparently eaten by lions, authorities said.
A search team in Kruger National Park was only able to recover a skull and a pair of pants which belonged to the apparent suspect.
South African National Parks confirmed that the victim and four accomplices were trying to poach a rhino Tuesday evening.
In the statement from SANParks they stated that:
“suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them”.
“His accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passers-by could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the park.
“Once outside, they reportedly informed a relative of the dead man about their ordeal.”
Isaac Phaahla, GM of communications and marketing at the KNP, said rangers were contacted to help the family find closure by recovering remains of the suspected poacher.
“According to the family of the deceased, they were called by his accomplices who notified them that their relative had been killed by an elephant while they were in the KNP to poach rhino on Tuesday evening,” he said.
An initial search party was unable to locate the body, but during a search on Thursday morning, authorities found the few remains of the suspected poacher. “Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains,” the park service said.
The South African Police Service said three of his alleged accomplices were arrested with rifles and ammunition in their possession.
“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” Kruger National Park Managing Executive Glenn Phillips said in a statement.
“It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”
The suspected poacher has not been identified. His accomplices are due in court, and the death is still being investigated.
This is not the first time an elephant trampled a poacher to death or that a lions have eaten poachers. Read both stories here:
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