Rhino poacher's skull and torn clothes discovered in reserve
Earlier this week, it was reported that a suspected poacher was trampled to death by an elephant, before his body was eaten by a pride of lions. According to a report from the Letaba Herald, the unnamed man was one of a group of poachers who had broken into the South African nature reserve.
Officials at Kruger National Park claimed that an elephant was alarmed by the man's presence, so charged right at him. His remains were discovered the following day (April 4) in the Crocodile Bridge section of the reserve by a search party, after his family were told of his death by others involved.
Glenn Phillips, managing executive of Kruger National Park said in a statement:
"Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that. 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."
It is thought that there were four poachers on the scene, allegedly after a rhino in the reserve, with three of them fleeing the scene after this poacher was killed. After he was killed, the three men carried his body to the road, before the pride found him.
"Once outside, they reportedly informed a relative of the dead man about their ordeal and police were alerted regarding the incident," said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.
"Subsequent to that, police launched a joint intelligence driven operation in search of the dead poacher's accomplices, resulting in the arrest of three men aged between 26 and 35, within KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort precincts."
The remains were few, but now photos have been obtained by South African news site the Daily Sun. "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," a statement from the South African Police Service read.
Police also seized weaponry and ammunition from the poachers. The three suspects in the case appeared at the Komatipoort Magistrate's Court on Friday, where they faced charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a license, as well as conspiracy to poach and trespassing.
They are all due to appear in court for a second time on April 12.