They strayed into a pride of lions — it’s a big pride so they didn’t have too much time
Three poachers were killed in the the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa, but not by men.
They were eaten by lions.
It is believed that the three men illegally entered the game reserve to poach rhinos. Instead they found themselves in an unusual — and deadly — situation.
“They strayed into a pride of lions – it’s a big pride so they didn’t have too much time,” Mr. Fox told AFP news agency. “We’re not sure how many there were – there’s not much left of them.”
The lions needed to be tranquilized before anyone could approach the remains of the poachers. Because of this, the bodies were not recovered right away.
Eventually recovered at the scene were: three pairs of shoes, various limbs, and a head. In addition, equipment often used by poachers for cutting off rhino horns were also recovered.
Some people felt that the poachers got exactly what they deserved. Ricky Gervais, who’s a comedian, actor, write, and director, posted dryly, “Rest in pieces.”
Other people were concerned about the lions, and the reserve was contacted about their health after the attack. The lions didn’t show any changes in behavior, according to Fox.
“We have received many questions relating to the future of the six lions involved in the tragic incident surrounding the killing of suspected poachers.
“The six lions involved were darted (anesthetized) from a game viewing vehicle and their reaction to the vehicle at that time was closely monitored by myself, the veterinary staff as well as our conservation staff. Their behaviour appeared no different from that exhibited towards these vehicles over the last ten years.”
It is generally accepted in the game industry that lions see a game-viewing vehicle containing people as something very different than people walking on the ground.
At the Sibuya Game Reserve, people are only allowed to see game from specialized game-viewing vehicles. They aren’t allowed to be on foot because of the dense bush and shrubbery on the premises.
“Over the last few days game guides and anti-poaching staff have continued to drive game viewing vehicles in the vicinity of this pride to check for any behavioural differences and they have confirmed that to date there have been none.
“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.”
Poaching is a significant problem in Africa. Rhino horns are believed to have special, medicinal properties, and demand for them is steady in Asia. However, they’re made from the same material as human fingernails.
This year, nine rhinos have been killed so far by poachers in Eastern Cape province, where this reserve is located.