Animal poachers are hunters who illegally poison, catch, and kill animals so that they can sell the animal or its parts on the black market. In an incident that took place at a private game park in South Africa, it was the other way around.
A man believed to be a poacher was mauled to death by the pride of lions he was hunting. It happened in the province of Limpopo of northeastern South Africa over the weekend of February 9th. The pack of lions attacked and killed the suspected poacher near Kruger National Park at the Hoedspruit private game park.
Little of the man’s remains were left as the animals ate his body after killing him. Only his head was left behind. Moatshe Ngoepe, a local police spokesman, said authorities initially thought the dead man was a park employee and tractor driver who had gone missing. However, that man has since been found alive.
Though rhino poaching is historically more common in this region, the man was found in what is considered lion territory. Since much of the man’s body was eaten, it creates a greater challenge when it comes to authorities being able to easily identify him. It seems having his head could be helpful in figuring out who he is.
“The process of identifying the deceased has already commenced, and it might be made possible by the fact that his head is amongst the remains that were found at the scene,” Ngoepe said.
A reason lion body parts are sought after by poachers is their use in certain traditional medicines popular in parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. Those caught for poaching animals are usually given penalties in the forms of hefty fines, so poachers see it as an economic risk-to-reward balance. Of course, there is nothing that can be done when it comes to the animals that are captured. And in this case, the risk-to-reward stakes were clearly more than economic ones.