A poacher was attacked and eaten alive by the very lions he was illegally hunting at a private game reserve in South Africa, the Daily Mail is reporting.
Workers at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit heard the sounds of someone screaming for help, and at first thought a fellow worker — a tractor driver — was in danger. When they arrived at the site where the screams were coming from, workers fired their guns to scare off a group of lions (called a “pride”) that had congregated. Once the big cats had safely run off, workers found that the animals had left behind a mostly-eaten body, leaving the head largely intact.
With the tractor driver accounted for, officials determined that the body likely belonged to a lion poacher who was on the property illegally.
The man was not carrying any identification, but he did leave behind a blood-soaked rifle that was found nearby.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said that the process of identifying the body has begun, although it isn’t likely to be easy considering there is literally not much left of it.
Meanwhile, the owner of the reserve, who identified himself only as “Josh,” declined to talk to the media, saying that he was advised against it because a criminal investigation is underway.
Two 0.456 big game rifles, the weapon of choice among African lion poachers, were also found nearby, leading authorities to believe that the dead hunter may have been a part of a group. His two companions are believed to have run off, as of this writing.
Though lions are critically endangered, their skeletons, skins, and teeth are highly-prized by collectors in Asia, making them a lucrative target for poachers. A full lion skeleton can fetch around $9,700, a full skin $4,150, and teeth up to $691 each.
This is the second time this month that a lion hunter in Africa has been killed while on the hunt. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Croation hunter Pero Jelenic had trained his sights on a lion and was about to pull the trigger when he was felled by a stray bullet, possibly from another hunter. In Jelenic’s case, however, he was hunting the lions legally, having paid all of the fees and filled out all of the proper paperwork.