Suspected rhino poachers killed by lions at South African reserve

More than one alleged poacher thought to be killed by lions

Three pairs of shoes were also recovered in the area, as well as a number of hunting rifles, wire cutters and an ax.

The bodies were found on Tuesday, but staff had to wait until Wednesday morning after the area was declared safe to go in and recover the remains.

Mr Fox said it was not clear exactly how numerous men there were, as there was "not much left of them".

Investigators did find three pairs of boots and three pairs of gloves. They view rhino horn, which is worth more than gold or platinum, as a valuable commodity, like elephant ivory or drugs.

"At this stage it is not clear exactly how many poachers were killed but the police forensic team continue to investigate", Mr Fox wrote.

"Judging from the shoes and items found on the scene‚ I suspect it is about two or maybe three (alleged poachers) who were killed", Fox told Sowetan Live.

An anti-poaching dog signaled that she noticed something during a patrol about 4:30 a.m. At the same time he'd heard a commotion coming from the lions so he suspected that's what prompted a reaction from the dog. Lions are often active at night, so the noise didn't raise suspicions.

Staff alerted an anti-poaching unit and called Fox to the scene.

"They use the rifle to shoot the animal and the axe to remove the horn."
"There's not much left of them".

Before the group could locate their illegal prize, the reserve says they ran into a pride of six lions and were all likely mauled to death before being dismembered and eaten by the hungry pack.

Fox has said that the reserve remains open notwithstanding the events earlier this week, AFP reported. Apparently, the felonious hunters were on a search for white rhinos, which are on the endangered species list.

According to CBS News, a similar incident occurred in February at the Umbabat Game Reserve, where a pride of lions killed a poacher who was hunting them.

Fox said security was increased at the 25-square-kilometer reserve in Kenton on Sea.

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