An illegal wildlife poacher, suspected of poisoning lions and selling body parts on the black market, has fallen victim to a dramatic full-on assault by a pride of lions, killing the suspected poacher after mauling him, tearing his body limb from limb, and finally devouring him whole.
Very little remained of the victim’s body when it was found near South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park in the northern province of Limpopo, where illegal poaching had taken place in recent years, according to WHNT News.
“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 told AFP.
A loaded hunting rifle and poison was found near where the poacher was devoured by the lions. The victim has not yet been identified.
Several adult lions were found last year poisoned near a farm in the same province. Their heads and paws had been sawn off, presumably sold on the black market, AFP reported.
The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation gains, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Poaching is threatening the last of our wild lions. Wild tigers are faring even worse, now numbering around 3,890.
Wildlife crime is a big business. Run by dangerous international networks, wildlife and animal parts are trafficked much like illegal drugs and arms. By its very nature, it is almost impossible to obtain reliable figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade. Experts at TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, estimate that it runs into “hundreds of millions of dollars.“
“It seems these poachers just doesn’t give a damn about these magnificent beasts or international law,” explains environmental activist and spokesman for Greenpeace South Africa, James Anton Decroix, based in Johannesburg.
“The waste of human life is always a shame, but the lions are not to blame here, they were only doing what they are born to do: protect themselves and kill for food,” he adds.