Lions eat rhino poachers who broke into game reserve

Predator turned into prey when a group of poachers became a meal for a pride of lions, the owner of a game reserve says.

Human remains were found in South Africa's Sibuya Game Reserve by a ranger, Reuters reported.

Nick Fox, the park's owner, said the lions were shot with tranquilizer darts at first light so police forensic teams and the anti-poaching unit could comb the area for clues, and admitted it was not clear how many poachers may have been killed.

Investigators allegedly found three pairs of boots and three pairs of gloves along with a high-powered rifle, wire cutters, and an ax. The lions had been heard making a commotion in the early hours of Monday.

Fox said he suspected more than one person was attacked by the lions - based on the evidence found on the scene. Fox said the poachers' mangled remains are suspected to have been eaten by a pride of six lions who were on the reservation to protect the endangered and highly targeted rhinos who are hunted for their horns.

Rhinoceroses are valued for their horns, which are falsely thought to have medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties in some cultures and are also used to create works of art.

"They strayed into a pride of lions - it's a big pride so they didn't have too much time", Mr Fox told AFP news agency.

Poaching is a major issue on the Eastern Cape with nine rhinos killed by illegal hunters on reserves this year.

The Sibuya reserve is home to rhinos, lions, elephant, buffalo and leopards and is popular with British tourists.

"They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns", he continued.

His plans to get Cecil's head mounted for his trophy room ended when one of Palmer's guides surrendered the lion's remains to officials in Africa.

In 2016, the reserve lost three rhinos when poachers got into the park and shot them dead and cut off their horns.

"The firearm has been taken by police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to establish if it has been used in any other poaching or crimes".

In February a poacher was killed by lions in the Umbabat Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park, and his family were forced to identify him using all that was left - his head.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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