Remains of suspected poacher recovered from Kruger

Posted by Lucinda Dordley on 8 April 2019

A rhino poacher died after what is believed to have been an attack by an elephant, and was subsequently eaten by a pride of lions. The incident took place at Kruger National Park on 1 April 2019.

According to police brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the police received information that the male victim and a group of accomplices had entered the park in order to hunt rhino.

‘His accomplices claimed to have carried [the deceased’s] body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning. They then vanished from the park,’ Hlathi said.

The group of suspected accomplices then contacted a family member of the victim, who in turn contacted the police.

Park rangers then began the search for the man’s body, but could not continue the search due to the poor visibility from falling light.

‘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,’ Isaac Phaahla, Communications & Marketing Department representative for the Kruger National Park, said.

The victim’s remains were found on 4 April in the Crocodile Bridge section of the park.

‘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,’ Phaahla said.

Three suspects aged between 26 and 35 years old were arrested in the KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort precincts following the incident.

Reacting to the incident, the Managing Executive of the KNP, Glenn Phillips commended those who were part of the search party for helping the family find closure and extended his condolences to the relatives of the deceased. ‘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.’

The four arrested individuals are in custody and will appear in court in due course.

South Africa is home to nearly 80% of the world’s rhino population. However, more than 1,000 rhinos were poached in the country between 2013 and 2017. The number dropped to 769 in 2018, with poachers targeting the animal for its horn.

Image: Pixabay

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