“They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.”
A GANG of poachers who broke into a South African game reserve to slaughter their herd of rhinos were attacked and EATEN by a pride of hungry lions.
The New York Post reports,
The hunters were torn to shreds by the big cats at the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa, where staffers on Tuesday discovered bloody body parts, including a head and limbs, the Daily Express reported.
“The lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal,” said Nick Fox, 60, who owns the reserve. “Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life, the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner.”
A helicopter was called in to search for more poachers but none were found.
“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more,” Fox said.
Also recovered were hunting rifles and axes — proof that they were after the threatened species.
“They were armed with high-powered rifles with silencers and an ax for the horns and wire cutters and sidearms and they had enough food with them to last for many days,” noted Fox. “They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.”
Police were working on determining exactly how many were killed and whether they’ve struck before.
“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,” said police spokeswoman Capt. Mali Govender.
Poachers have broken into the popular 30-square-mile reserve in the Eastern Cape before.
In 2016, three rhinos were killed when poachers sneaked into the park, shooting them and cutting off their horns.
Nine rhinos have been killed with high-caliber hunting rifles at Eastern Cape reserves so far this year.