A suspected poacher was mauled to death by lions in South Africa.
According to AFP, human remains were found over the weekend at a private game park near Hoedspruit in the northern province of Limpopo, close to the Kruger National Park, officials said. Little remained of the victim, though a hunting rifle was found near the body, leading officials to believe that the victim had been poaching.
“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe said.
Poaching in the area has been on the rise in recent years. Last year, several lions were discovered poisoned near a farm in the province of Limpopo. Their heads and paws had been sawn off. Poachers have also targeted rhinoceroses in the area due to the heavy demand for their horns in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.
The suspected poacher’s death isn’t the first lion-related death to happen in South Africa in recent months. In January, trophy hunter Pero Jelinic, 75, died after being struck by a stray bullet while hunting lions on a remote farm that practices “canned” lion hunting.
Jelinic, who was a hotelier from Croatia, had traveled from the island of Pag to Leeubosch Lodge, a four-hour drive from Johannesburg and just 40 miles from the border with Botswana, to complete the hunt in an attempt to complete his trophy collection. He had already killed one lion and was preparing to shoot a second when he was struck by the bullet.
Leeubosch Lodge, where the hunt took place, is known for practicing “canned” lion hunting, in which the animals are kept in confined, fenced-in areas without the possibility of escape in order to allow hunters the best possible chance at a kill. The practice is highly controversial among both animal lovers and hunters.