Poacher Trampled to Death by Elephant, Eaten by Pride of Lions

Only the man's skull and pants were retrieved by Kruger National Park rangers.

poacher killed
A poacher's remains were found in Kruger National Park. (Godong/UIG via Getty Images)

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Oh, the irony.

Days after a group of suspected, illegal poachers entered South Africa’s Kruger National Park to kill rhinos for their prized horns, park rangers discovered the skull and pants they believe belonged to a poacher.

The unidentified man was trampled to death by an elephant, according to his accomplices, only for his bodily remains to be later “devoured” by a pride of lions, Vice reported. At least three other men have since been arrested, according to TimesLive, and are facing a slew of charges including conspiracy to poach and trespassing.

After the men entered the park on Monday, an elephant “attacked and killed one of them,” Police Brigadier Leonard Hlathi explained. His fellow alleged poachers claim to have carried his body to a nearby road “so that passers-by could find it in the morning,” but when rangers returned to the area to recover the man’s remains, his body could not be found.

“The [victim’s] family… called Skukuza regional ranger Don English who, after assuring the family that he would do everything possible to recover the remains and bring them closure, arranged a search party,” said Isaac Phaahla, general manager of communications and marketing at the park. “Rangers on foot, accompanied by members of the KNP Airwing flew over the area that was described by the family but due to failing light, could not locate the body.”

The search resumed on Thursday morning when, finally, the man’s remains were discovered.

“Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants,” said Isaac.

Kruger National Park managing executive Glenn Phillips offered his condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

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