Many poachers have been attracted to the Sibuya Game reserve in South Africa due to the vast diversity of animals located inside of it. Recently, a group of poachers had gotten into the reserve in order to hunt rhinos, but have been devoured by a pack of lions.
Almost 80% of all the rhinos in the entire world are located in South Africa. At this time, there are about 29,000 rhinos in the world. In the year 2017, 1,028 rhinos have been poached.
People that want to poach the rhinos are usually doing it for their horns which are demanded highly in Southeast Asia. It is believed that rhino’s horn has great medicinal properties. Usually, they are sold for about $100,000 per kilogram, and since one horn is about two to seven pounds, a poacher could get up to $300,000 by selling just one horn.
In South Africa’s black market, horns are usually sold for $3,000 a pound. In China, the horns, as well as the ivory from elephants, are highly sought after since they are used for artwork carvings.
Nick Fox, the owner of the park has said that the poachers were eaten alive by the lions sometimes in the middle of the evening of July 1 and early morning of July 2.
Very small amounts of their remains were left and investigators couldn’t tell how many people have been killed. The only remains that were found were a skull and parts of a pelvis. It is suspected that there were three men according to the three sets of shoes and gloves that were found. A typical rhino poaching group consists of three people.
Fox has said that one of the dogs in the reserve on July 2 at around 4:30 a.m. gave a warning that something was wrong. Its handler heard disorder from the lions but in a reserve that usually happens at that time in the morning so no investigation was done any further than that.
Stumbling upon bloodied remains, a group of rangers notified the police of the situation. They found a high-powered rifle with a silencer, wire cutters, and an ax near the bushes where the remains were found.
With help from a helicopter, a search party sought for any people that survived but none were found. Additionally, detectives have been investigating to find out exactly how many people were eaten.
Captain Mali Govender, a police spokeswoman, says that the guns that were found will be sent to a ballistics lab to check if they’ve been used in poaching.
Even though they found only three pairs of shoes and body parts, it does not mean that only three poachers were eaten by the lions. Fox said that the poachers were planning on hunting for several days by the amount of food and arms that were recovered.
Nine rhinos were killed in 2018 with a high-caliber hunting rifle, similar to the guns that the group that had been killed used. In February, a poacher had been killed in the Umbabat Game Reserve that was hunting lions near the Kruger National Park.
These incidents are sad, Fox claimed, but should also warn poachers to stop the illegal hunting and not risk their lives for the game.