In what many would consider the ultimate karma, a group of suspected rhino poachers have met a grizzly death after being mauled to death by lions in a South African game reserve. Rangers from the Sibuya Game Reserve said at least three men illegally entered the reserve with the intention to poach rhinos sometime between the night of July 1 and the early hours of Monday July 2.
According to a statement released by the reserve, the men were armed with a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and had food supplies to last them for several days as they hunted the rhinos for their horns. The horns are used in an array of alternative medicines, while others use them as a status symbol.
“One of our anti-poaching dogs alerted her handler at about 4:30am Monday morning that something was amiss,” Reserve Owner Nick Fox said. “At the same time, the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions so he suspected that this was what had alerted her and was not concerned.”
It wasn’t until Tuesday that a tour guide operator noticed what appeared to be human remains and other items in the vicinity of the lions.
“I was immediately called to the scene where along with the APU, we found the high powered rifle, gloves, wire cutters and the remains of a back pack with food, water and other supplies,” Fox explained. “We immediately alerted the Indalo (Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves), Anti-Poaching Cluster and the police.”
It is believed the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and that some, if not all, had been killed during the attack. Each lion in the reserve was later darted by vets so police forensic teams and the anti-poaching unit could safely investigate the area for clues. It is not yet known how many poachers have been killed in the attack.
According to the BBC, nine rhinos have been killed in the area this year alone, while more than 7,000 have been poached in South Africa in the past 10 years.
It comes after an American hunter caused outrage earlier this week when she posed next to a rare black giraffe she’d gunned down.
Tess Thompson Talley, from Kentucky, USA, originally posted the photograph on her Facebook account one year ago, but it recently went viral after it was shared on Twitter by an account named AfricaDigest, causing an outpouring of rage.
The 37-year-old has since defended her actions, saying she killed the 18-year-old giraffe because he was “over breeding age” and claimed the animal had already killed three younger bulls in the herd.