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Lion Pride Eats Suspected Poacher in South Africa
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Summary: A man suspected of hunting the lions on a nature reserve was attacked and devoured by the very lions he was trying to kill.

Some may call it ironic. Others will cry justice. No matter how you look at it, a big game hunter lost his life. The mauled body of what investigators believe was a poacher was found at a Nature Reserve in South Africa.


The attack happened at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, outside Phalaborwa. Workers heard screams. They ran out, firing a warning shot that sent a pride of lions running. The lions had already devoured most of the man’s body when they were chased off, and just his head remained untouched, according to the Daily Mail.

The pack of lions responsible for the killing were not the nature reserve’s primary pack. They believe the pack had traveled across the border from a neighboring reserve or national park.

When the police first investigated the death and body of the man, they feared he was one of the reserve’s tractor drivers, but that man was found alive. A big game rifle was found near the remains. This is what caused them to believe the unidentified man was a poacher. The man was not carrying any kind of ID or documents indicating who he may be so the police in Limpopo have asked the Department of Home Affairs to help them ID the deceased man.

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“The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene,” Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said.

A worker at a nearby reserve told reporters, “The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest. A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten.”

Lion skeletons can go for over $9,600 in the Far East. The skin can fetch a price of $4,100 and the teeth can cost nearly $700 each. There are less than 20,000 left in the wild. The big cats, with the males weighing over 400 pounds and females weighing up to 290 pounds, are responsible for killing around 250 people a year in Africa. Lions can run at speeds of nearly 50 mph, making outrunning them impossible for humans.

British wildlife photographer Charlie Lynham of Liverpool now resides near the reserve where he regularly photographs the resident lion pride. He said, “It turns out it was not the resident pride that lives here responsible as they were on a buffalo kill at the time of the incident but a pride perhaps come over from the Kruger (National Park). It happened on the border of the Umbabat Game Reserve after dark and may have been on the reserve. Two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game – especially elephant and rhino in the bush.”

Lynham further explained, “I cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away… Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark, then that is another matter. It is purely speculation on my part but it would seem they either walked into a pride of lions in the darkness or they were stalked and attacked and a man was taken down and eaten. The other two it seems ran off and two .456 big game rifles were found and ammunition.”

Poaching is a big problem in Africa, not only for the safety of the animals but the people involved as well. Poacher Luteni Muhararukua was killed by a rhino he was hunting after the wild animal charged him in Namibia. Rhinos are commonly killed for their horns.

Are you happy to see this potential poacher taken down by lions, or do you feel sorry for him? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about hunting incidents in Africa, read these articles:




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