Lions kill suspected poachers on wildlife reserve in South Africa

Credit PA

Once the remains were spotted in the lion enclosure, an anti-poaching team was dispatched to the scene.

It has been reported that a head and other body parts were recovered from the area on Tuesday (July 3), along with three pairs of shoes.

The remains of what appears to be three bodies were discovered on the Simbuya Game Reserve along with high power rifles owner Nick Fox said in a statement.

"We're not sure how many there were - there's not much left of them", Fox told Agence France-Presse.

"Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed", he said.

"We thought they must have been rhino poachers but the axe confirmed it", Mr Fox said. After the incident, authorities recovered the remains of their parts, three pairs of shoes, wire cutters, high-powered hunting rifles fitted with silencers and a type of ax that is commonly used by poachers to remove rhino horns.

A poacher was killed by lions in the Umbabat Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park in February.

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Fox said he thinks the poachers got onto the reserve on Sunday night or early Monday morning.

"We immediately alerted the Indalo (Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves) Anti-Poaching Cluster and the Police".

Over 7,000 rhinos have been killed and their tusks poached in the last decade, with nine killed just this year.

The game reserve is apparently very popular, and covers 30 square miles of land, featuring elephants, buffalo and leopards, along with the rhinos and lions.

In 2016, the reserve lost three rhinos when poachers got into the park and shot them dead and cut off their horns.

"Investigation continues and at this stage we are unable to speculate as to how the remains ended up at the scene", South African Police Service Capt. Mali Govender said.

"The firearm has been taken by police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to establish if it has been used in any other poaching or crimes". That man was also killed and eaten by a group of lions he was trying to illegally hunt.

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