(Natural News) A suspected poacher was mauled, killed, and partially eaten by a pride of lions at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in South Africa. The man, who has yet to be identified, is suspected to be a big cat poacher and was allegedly hunting at the game reserve. Employees were alerted to the man’s death after they heard him screaming. Despite the rangers doing their best to ward off the lions, the man was quickly devoured. Only his head was left untouched.
The man was carrying no documents but police authorities found several hunting rifles near the remains of the man’s body. These rifles are known to be used by poachers when hunting game. Authorities believe that the guns belonged to the victim.
How the incident occurred is still being deliberated. However, authorities believe that the alleged poacher drove a tractor into the reserve during the night. The tractor, unfortunately, broke down, causing the man to attempt to walk back to the compound on his own. The pride saw him and then attacked him.
It is also unclear if the attacking pride was from Ingwelala or a neighboring reserve. At the time of the incident, the Ingwelala pride was said to be in another portion of the reserve hunting buffalo.
Authorities are also under the impression that two more men were involved. Two sets of footprints were found heading away from the scene, other than the dead man’s. Employees at Ingwelala say that there were no anti-poaching groups in the area at the time but do say that “poetic justice” had been dealt.
This death comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino in Namibia.
Lions are highly valued for their pelt and teeth. Bones of a full-grown lion can fetch an astonishing 7,000 British Pounds ($9,000), the skin, 3,000 British Pounds ($4,000), and teeth 500 British Pounds each ($700).
There are only around 20,000 lions left running wild in Africa.
The effects of poaching
It seems rather facetious to joke about a man who was brutally killed by animals but poachers are disrupting the natural way of the world. Recent data show that since 2011, more than 11,000 Mozambique elephants have been killed for their tusks and skin. That is equivalent to more than four elephants dying everyday since 2011. Conservation groups fear that should nothing be done to stop these illegal activities, the elephant population will be extinct in only a decade. Already the Mozambique population has dwindled from 12,000 to only 1,500.
It’s not just elephants who are suffering. Many wildlife species in Africa are at extreme risk of disappearing. According to the African Wildlife Foundation:
- The black rhino population has gone down by 97.6 percent since 1960.
- There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild.
- Only 2,000 Grevy zebras remain.
- The overall population of giraffes has declined by 40 percent in only 15 years.
Conservationists stress that illegal hunting, along with humans further limiting the hunting range of big game, is contributing to the rapid decline of wildlife. They estimate that lions could go extinct by 2050 and elephants by 2028. Efforts to stop poaching include educating the public, stopping the demand for these prized items, and calling for local governments to begin implementing stricter punishments (being eaten by the game they want to hunt, notwithstanding).
Read more news about the effects of poaching and other articles related to the environment at Environ.news.