Lions kill suspected poachers on wildlife reserve in South Africa

More than one alleged poacher thought to be killed by lions

More than one alleged poacher thought to be killed by lions

"We suspect two were killed, possibly three", Sibuya owner Nick Fox said on Thursday. A few pairs of shoes, axes, wire cutters, and guns with silencers were also found in the enclosure, leading officials to believe that they were poachers looking to secure rhino horns, according to BBC News.

According to a post on the Sibuya Game Reserve Facebook page, the poachers entered the reserve between the night of July 1 and the early hours of July 2. Rangers in some African parks have even resorted to chopping off the horns of some rhinos in a desperate attempt to save them from poachers. Apparently, the poachers walked into a pride of six lions.

The game reserve, which sits on 50 kilometres of land, is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape and is home to the Big Five - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

Unfortunately for the would-be poachers, "the lions are our watchers and guardians, and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal", according to Fox.

After a police forensic unit and the reserve's anti-poaching unit conducted an investigation, Fox said they found "the axe, various pieces of clothing, [and] shoes" and that "everything was very spread out".

Fox said the supplies were "the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino [s] and removing their horns".

The reserve's owner says a guide found what appeared to be human remains Tuesday near the group of lions.

Police forensics officers were on the scene conducting tests on the remains of the victims, Fox added.

"The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone", he said.

More than 1,000 rhinos were killed illegally in South Africa previous year, a shocking rise since 2007, when only 13 were killed.

More than 7,000 have been killed in South Africa in the past decade.

The reserve is still open to guests.

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