Suspected poacher mauled, eaten by lions in South Africa

The remains of a suspected poacher were found in the bush at a private game park near Hoedspruit, South Africa, after he was reportedly mauled and eaten by lions. PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A suspected poacher was mauled to death and eaten by a pride of lions close to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police said on Monday (Feb 12), adding that little was left of the victim's body.

The remains were found at the weekend in the bush at a private game park near Hoedspruit, in the northern province of Limpopo, where animals have been poached in increasing numbers over recent years.

"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe said.

A loaded hunting rifle was found near the body on Saturday morning. Police are trying to establish the victim's identity.

Last year, several lions were found poisoned near a farm in the same province with their heads and paws sawn off.

Lion body parts are used in traditional medicine.

Poachers also often target rhinoceroses in South Africa's game parks to feed a booming demand for rhino horn in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.

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