Poaching is still a huge problem in Africa even as conservationists are warning that several endangered species are at risk of going extinct because of them. Both governments and private organizations have their hands full trying to stop these poachers who just don’t care.
However, sometimes Mother Nature can mete out some justice of its own. The staff of Sibuya Game Reserve had discovered what they believe to be the remains of at least three poachers within the reserve grounds.
Sibuya Game Reserve is located near Kenton-on-Sea in Eastern Province, South Africa. It is one of the most popular reserves in the area and attracts a lot of British tourists. Its 30-square-mile area is home to Africa’s Big Five: rhinos, lions, elephants, leopards, and buffalo.
Unfortunately, tourists are not the only types of visitors that the reserve attracts.
In 2016, Sibuya Game Reserve lost three rhinos after poachers sneaked in, killed them, and cut off their horns. But this time, the tables were turned when the poachers ran into a pride of hungry lions.
One head, a couple of bloodied body parts and limbs, as well as three pairs of empty shoes were discovered. In addition, high-powered hunting rifles equipped with silencers, wire cutters, and an ax to cut off rhino horns were discovered among the remains. It was obvious that they had bad intentions from the start.
According to Sibuya’s owner, 60-year-old Nick Fox, “We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more.
“They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.
“But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal.
“Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner.”
The bodies were found just as darkness was falling on July 3 but staff had to wait until the next morning before recovering the bodies when it could be confirmed that the area was safe.
Fox added: “The lions may have eaten more of them it is difficult to tell as the area is very thick with bush and you cannot be sure what they have taken off to feed on elsewhere.
“The best estimate we have so far is that three of the gang were eaten.
“They were armed with high powered rifles with silencers, an ax for the horns, wire cutters and side arms, so were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.”
South African police have also been called in to determine the identities of the bodies and to verify if more poachers were in the area. The guns are also being tested for ballistics to verify if they had been used in other poaching incidents.
This year alone, nine rhinos were killed by poachers who broke into protected reserves.
But this is not the first time that Nature had fought back. In February, a poacher was killed when he broke into the Umbabat Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park. All that remained of him was his head which was how family members were able to identify him. As morbid as it sounds, one can’t help but call to mind the saying about one’s head being served on a platter.
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