Johannesburg - A suspected poacher was mauled to death and eaten by a pack of lions close to the Kruger National Park, police said Monday, adding that little was left of the victim's body.
The remains were found at the weekend in the bush at a private game park near Hoedspruit in the northern province of Limpopo, where animals have been poached in increasing numbers over recent years.
"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.
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A loaded hunting rifle was found near the body on Saturday morning. Police are trying to establish the victim's identity.
Last week, there were local reports that police have opened an investigation after a man was attacked and killed by lions near Hoedspruit.
"The deceased was allegedly driving a tractor which got stuck a few metres before he could reach his compound, and he walked on foot and subsequently a group of lions attacked him to death. His half lifeless body was saved after the lions were scared off by gun shots. Police investigations are are still continuing," said Ngoepe said.
Last year, several lions were found poisoned near a farm in the same province with their heads and paws sawn off.
Lion body parts are used in traditional medicine.
Poachers also often target rhinoceroses in game parks to feed a booming demand for rhino horn in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.
AFP and IOL