Quantcast

Suspected Rhino Poacher Killed By Elephant and Then ‘Devoured’ By Lions

Animals
An elephant among savannah grass in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Hein von Horsten / Gallo Images / Getty Images

A suspected rhino poacher was trampled to death by an elephant and then eaten by lions after entering South Africa's Kruger National Park, South African National Parks said.


The poaching of rhinos has emerged as a major problem in South Africa in recent years. Kruger National Park (KNP), which is home to the world's highest concentration of rhinos, is often a target. In 2015, more than 70 percent of the rhinos poached in the country were poached from the park, The Guardian reported.

"Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that," KNP Managing Executive Glenn Phillips said in a statement. "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."

According to contrasting official reports in South Africa's Times Live, the man entered the park with a group of fellow poachers either April 1 or 2. Once the men were in the park, "suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them," Police Brigadier Leonard Hlathi told Times Live.

His accomplices brought his body to a roadside before leaving the park, then told one of his family members. KNP GM of Communications and Marketing Isaac Phaahla explained what happened next:

"The family then called Skukuza regional ranger Don English who, after assuring the family that he would do everything possible to recover the remains and bring them closure, arranged a search party.

"Rangers on foot, accompanied by members of the KNP Airwing flew over the area that was described by the family but due to failing light, could not locate the body.

"The team resumed the search on Thursday morning, with further information provided after four of the deceased's alleged accomplices, who had been arrested during the previous evening by the Komatipoort SAPS.

"During this search, which was boosted with a further complement of field rangers, the remains of a body were discovered.

"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."

Three of the man's accomplices were taken into custody and appeared in court April 5. They were charged with possessing arms and munitions without a license, conspiracy to poach and trespassing, and are being held until April 12.

African rhinos are poached because their horns are believed by some practitioners of Eastern medicine to be an aphrodisiac, CNN explained. In some parts of the world, rhino horn is more valuable than cocaine. Black rhinos in particular are considered critically endangered. From 1970 to 1995, their numbers fell from 65,000 to 2,400. That number has climbed somewhat in the last 20 or so years to 5,000, most of which live in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Poaching isn't only a problem at Kruger. In a 2018 interview with Deutsche Welle, Johnson Maoka, a manager at South Africa's Pilanesberg National Park, said poachers entered every few days to try and kill rhinos. However, he said many of the people who actually entered the park were preyed upon themselves by poaching syndicates, who target struggling or unemployed people and offer them 10,000 to 20,000 South African rand (approximately $700 to $1,400) to kill rhinos.

"You need to provide the poacher, the guy walking into the reserve with a gun, with an alternative source of income in order to minimize poaching," Maoka said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

David Gilmour performs at Anfiteatro Scavi di Pomei on July 7, 2016 in Pompei, Italy. Francesco Prandoni / Redferns / Getty Images

David Gilmour, guitarist, singer and songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd, set a record last week when he auctioned off 126 guitars and raised $21.5 million for ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law group dedicated to fighting the global climate crisis, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks during a forum April 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation's farmers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Protestors and police stand on ether side of railway tracks. dpa / picture-alliance

Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.

Read More Show Less
Cecilie_Arcurs / E+ / Getty Images

By Megan Jones and Jennifer Solomon

The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cigarette butts are the most-littered item found at beach clean ups. John R. Platt

By Tara Lohan

By now it's no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.

Read More Show Less

Andrea Rodgers, second from the right, takes notes during a hearing in the Juliana v. U.S. case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon on June 4. Colleague Elizabeth Brown sits to her left, while colleague Julia Olson sits on her right, with co-council Philip Gregory on Julia's right. Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust

By Fran Korten

On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.

Read More Show Less
Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday. SCOOTERCASTER / YouTube screenshot

Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday as they demanded the paper improve its coverage of the climate crisis, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less