They say that what goes around comes around. But for some, it would appear the karma system operates much quicker than others after a man, believed to be a poacher, was mauled to death by a pack of vengeful lions.
The man, who is yet to be identified, was found at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, South Africa after the sound of his screams were heard by people nearby. Gunshots were fired in an attempt to deter the lions, but by that point, it was too late to save the man.
“A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him,” said a local worker, before rather morbidly adding: “He was eaten”.
By the time people arrived at the scene, the man had already been mostly consumed by the lions. “The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest,” said a local worker who witnessed the aftermath.
It is unclear who the man was, and given the condition of his body, it shall be difficult for police to carry out an investigation. Initially, it was believed that he may have been a local tractor worker who worked at the game reserve, but when the man in question arrived at the scene it was evident that he wasn’t the victim.
Police then speculated that the body belonged to a poacher as a hunting rifle was found nearby. “The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene,” said Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
Meanwhile, British wildlife photographer Charlie Lynham, who lives near the reserve revealed that “two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game – especially elephant and rhino in the bush.”
“I cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously the dead and eaten man.”
“It turns out it was not the resident pride that lives here responsible as they were on a buffalo kill at the time of the incident but a pride perhaps come over from the Kruger (National Park),” Mr. Lynham explained. “It happened on the border of the Umbabat Game Reserve after dark and may have been on their reserve.”
“Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark, then that is another matter,” Mr. Lynham continued. “It is purely speculation on my part but it would seem they either walked into a pride of lions in the darkness or they were stalked and attacked and a man was taken down and eaten. The other two it seems ran off.”
“If you go out walking in the bush in the dark then I am afraid you are fair game in the wild and there is no way that anyone can attribute any blame to those lions for this kill.”
On average, lions kill up to 250 people per year in Africa, despite there being less than 2,000 of the creatures left in the wild. They have become increasingly popular with poachers who can sell their bones for as much as $10,000 in the Far East. A lion’s skin is also worth $4,150 and their teeth are approximately $700 each.
This incident comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was trampled to death by a rhino in Namibia, as he tracked it for its horn.
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