A suspected rhino poacher was trampled to death by an elephant. His corpse was further fed on by a pride of lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
A man who was suspected to be a rhino poacher was trampled to death by an elephant last Tuesday. Officials say that his body was later devoured by a pride of lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa. The victim's family was informed about his death. The officials discovered nothing but a skull and a pair of pants in the national park, as reported by BBC. A search party was sent out to find his body when they came across his remains after long hours. The man not the only one in the National Park. The victim's four accomplices were arrested after his remains were found. The accomplices were the ones who informed the officials that one of the members from their group had gone missing. The accomplices further confessed to entering the national park with the aim of poaching rhinos.
During the initial search, the officials were unable to find the dead man's body. The search party included rangers on foot as well as members of the park's air wing. They finally came across a pair of jeans and a skull that looked like it had been feasted on not too long ago. They failed to find the body at first because the light was fading. His body was found on Thursday morning. The managing executive of the park, Glenn Philips, reached out to the victim's family and offered his condolences. "Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise. It holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that," he said.
#sapsMP Komatipoort: A human skull found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is believed to be that of a man reportedly killed by an elephant while poaching with his accomplices on 01/04; duo arrested, rifles & ammo seized. MEhttps://t.co/XXsXpJqTjA pic.twitter.com/4Oye38Eddh— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) April 6, 2019
He told CBS News that "It is very sad to see the daughters of the [deceased] mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains." After the body was found, the dead man's accomplices were arrested for entering the national park with the aim of poaching rhinos. The men were caught with ammunition and rifles in their possession. The accomplices are due in court while investigations regarding the death of the unidentified poacher continue.
Good job. Train the animals to defend themselves. While lining up a Rhino, the lion can pounce and maul, call the elephant who can come in for a crush to ensure job done. Then the Lion can have some dinner. Well done animals.— John Babcock (@babcock_john) April 7, 2019
Kruger National Park advertises itself as offering "an African safari adventure of a lifetime." The national park is the largest one of its kind in South Africa covering an area of nearly two million hectares. The national reserve is home to lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, leopards, and African buffaloes. The officials mentioned that this wasn't the first time that poachers have entered the national reserve looking to poach rhinos in specific. Rangers and police officers said that last July three men suspected of being poachers were killed by lions in the national reserve.
There is a large market for rhino horns and the highest demand is seen in Asian countries. Rhino horns cost around $9,000 per pound. It is considered as a symbol of status in China and is also used as a prized ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. "It’s one of the most expensive wildlife products on the illegal market and that’s why these poachers go after it," Michael Slattery, founder of the Texas Christian University Rhino Initiative said as reported by The New York Times.
Slattery continued, "The current prices for a rhino horn are anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 a kilogram. They are seeing dollar signs. It is more expensive than gold and cocaine, so the demand is driving these poachers." Reports say that South Africa is home to around 20,000 wild rhinos which is more than 80 percent of their overall population across the world. Around one-third of these animals are reportedly owned by private breeders. Illegal hunting of rhinos has been a major concern for decades.
Since 2008, apparently, more than 7,000 wild rhinos have been killed illegally. According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, 1,028 of these killings took place in 2017 alone. Slattery further added that the poachers earn more money if they manage to deliver a full rhino horn but in order to do that they would have to kill the animal. Poachers usually drug the rhinos and then use a machete to "hack away at the face," resulting in the animal bleeding to death. "That equation pretty quickly tips over to these animals disappearing before our eyes,” he said.Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.