Lions maul suspected rhinoceros poachers on South African game reserve, owner says

05 Juillet, 2018, 23:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • A pride of lions walking

And in perhaps the most heartbreaking act of conservation, park rangers in some parts of Africa are preemptively removing rhinos' horns so that poachers won't be tempted to kill the animals for them. The lions had been heard making a commotion in the early hours of Monday.

The men entered the Sibuya Game Reserve on the southeast coast armed with a rifle with a silencer, wire cutters and an axe, and had food supplies "for a number of days", said reserve owner Nick Fox.

He added, however, that the clothing strewn around the scene points to there being at least three.

A group of poachers were bested by a pride of lions after they broke into a South African game reserve in a bid to stalk and slaughter a herd of rhinos.

"It's still business as usual, it doesn't change anything we do", he said.

Fox said that the reserve was still open to guests despite the incident.

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"At about 4.30pm on Tuesday, one of our field guides on game drive alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains as well as other items in the immediate vicinity of the lions", he said.

Police were working on determining exactly how many were killed and whether they've struck before. On Wednesday, Sibuya employees and police found the poachers' gear scattered through the thick bushes.

"I think we had a stroke of luck here that the lions got to them before they got to the rhinos", Fox told AFP. "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", she said.

The game reserve is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape with British tourists and is home to the Big Five of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and is set in 30 square miles.

Due to its prominence and collection of animals, the park has faced multiple break-ins by poachers in recent years.

In 2016, three rhinos were killed when poachers sneaked into the park, shooting them and cutting off their horns.

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