A suspected poacher was killed by an elephant and his remains were then eaten by a pride of lions in a South African national park, officials said on Friday.
The man’s family sought the help of authorities last week after the man’s accomplices informed them of his death, South African National Parks said in a statement.
The man, whose identify has not been released by authorities, had allegedly been poaching rhinos in Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves, on Tuesday when he was killed by an elephant, his accomplices said. The man’s family beseeched authorities to help recover his body, which had been left in the park.
South Africa National Parks said rangers, both on foot and in helicopters, scoured the park and managed to locate the man’s remains on Thursday. “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,” the service said, adding that the man’s four accomplices had been arrested.
Glenn Phillips, Kruger National Park’s managing executive, said the man’s death illustrated the “many dangers” of entering the park illegally. He expressed his condolences to the man’s family, saying it was “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.”
South African police reported last February that lions had killed and eaten an alleged poacher in Kruger National Park. At the time, Australia’s ABC News noted that poaching in the area had been on the rise in recent years.