Though the identity of the man remains unknown, Police has confirmed that he was a poacher as a loaded hunting rifle and ammunition were discovered next to his remains on Friday.
A pack of lions killed a suspected big cat poacher in the Kruger National Park in South Africa on Friday, Police has confirmed. The lions mauled and devoured nearly his entire body, leaving behind his head and some other body parts. His remains were discovered by the local people near Hoedspruit, a town in the South African province of Limpopo.
Locals suspected that the man was a poacher because a loaded hunting rifle and ammunition were found next to his remains, as reported by a South African news outlet, Eyewitness News.
It was suspected early on that the man was not a poacher, but the driver of a tractor found next to the remains. However, on further investigation, the driver has now been located with the police confirming that the man was a poacher.
“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions,” a spokesman for the Limpopo police, told AFP. “They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains.” The Police are still at work trying to identify the man with his remains.
Over the past few years, poaching has become highly widespread in Limpopo, a town known for its lion-population. The carcasses of three poisoned lions were found in January 2017 in the province with both their paws and heads cut off.
China is one of the biggest markets for lions’ bones, where they find their application in traditional medicine. In the past, the bones of Asian tigers were used for this purpose.
However, due to their dwindling population numbers, China has introduced a moratorium on tiger hunting. Consequently, to circumvent the ban, poachers now turn to African lions.
Highlighting the seriousness of the issue, an Environmental Investigation Agency report published in July 2017 has revealed that the population of African Lion has decreased by 43% over the last two decades. While there were 20,000 lions in Africa in the year 1993, the report states, now that population has come down to 3,490.