Rhino poachers were eaten by a pride of lions earlier this week at a wildlife reserve in South Africa.

 

Nick Fox, the owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve, reported that a staff member found humans near six lions on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the lions were tranquilized so that the police forensic unit and the reserve’s anti-poaching unit could investigate.

“That’s when they found the ax, various pieces of clothing, shoes,” Fox said. “Everything was very spread out.”

At least three poachers were present at the time of the incident. Three pairs of shoes and gloves were found at the scene as well as instruments used by poachers.

“I think we had a stroke of luck here that the lions got to them before they got to the rhinos.

Wire cutters, an ax for cutting out rhino horns and a significant food supply were discovered near the remains.

A police spokesperson told the Herald that the human remains will be examined by a legal team. Tests will also run on the rifles in a ballistics lab to determine if they have been used in previous crimes.

This is not the first time Sibuya Game Reserve has been in targeted. In 2016, three rhinos were killed at the park for their horns.  

An estimated 25,000 rhinos exist in the world. South Africa encompasses 80 percent of the world’s remaining population. According to National Geographic, 1,000 South African rhinos were killed in 2017.

Rhino horns are some of the most valuable commodities in the world. A poacher can make up to USD 300,000 per horn. Then, they are often sold to Asian countries where horns are believed to possess medicinal properties.

“It’s a massive problem. Rhino horn has now become more valuable than gold per gram,” Fox said.

“I just thank my lions,” he concluded. “They saved our rhinos from another onslaught.”

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons.