Animals got the upper hand in a battle with poachers in Africa’s Kruger National Park.
A man who was poaching rhinos with a group in the national park was trampled to death by an elephant and his remains were then eaten by a pride of lions, the Letaba Herald reported.
While the other hunters escaped death from the elephant, they didn’t get out completely unscathed. After the elephant trampled their hunting partner to death, the remaining members of the group notified the man’s family. The relatives of the deceased man then called park officials, who launched a search for the man and also arrested the remaining four members of the group for poaching.
The search crew in the park was eventually able to find the missing hunter’s remains, which at that point was only a human skull and a pair of pants. The lions ate the rest, park officials said.
Park officials offered condolences to the man’s family, but also issued a warning to others about entering the park on their own.
“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” park manager Glenn Phillips told the Letaba Herald. “It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”
This is not the first time that a poacher has gotten the worst of an encounter with a wild animal. Last February, a poacher who was hunting lions at a private game reserve in South Africa was attacked and killed by a pride of lions. As the Daily Mail reported, some workers at Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve heard the hunter screaming for help and fired guns to scare away the lions, eventually finding his bloodied body.
Lions are critically endangered in the area, but are frequently targeted by poaches for their skeletons, skins, teeth, and fur. The lion’s teeth alone can fetch up to $700, while a full skin is worth more than $4,000.
It’s not clear what punishment the rhino poachers could face after being arrested in Kruger National Park, but some African countries have come down very hard on poachers. As the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project noted, three poachers arrested for targeting rhinos in South Africa were given more than 500 years in prison for killing 55 animals between 2013 and 2016.