A BLOODY skull is all that remains of a Rhino poacher who was trampled to death by elephants and eaten by lions at Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Police found the man's remains on Thursday, after four other poachers, who escaped, explained that a member of their gang had been killed while they were hunting.
The group said they were surprised by an "angry elephant" as they stalked endangered rhino and it stamped their friend to death, giving them a chance to run for safety.
Kruger Park Rangers immediately set out for the area known as Crocodile Bridge and sent up their airwing helicopter in a bid to find the dead man’s remains before it got dark.
KNP ranger Don English led the team out again at first light on Wednesday to recover the body.
But with no luck the police officers in the case re-interviewed the captured poachers to try and get more detail as to where the elephant attacked and killed their friend.
This sends out a powerful message to poachers that you will not always be the winner
They found what was left of the poacher on Thursday but it appeared he had been eaten by a lion pride.
All that was left to bring back to the camp was the poacher's bloodied head and some clothes.
KNP managing executive Glenn Phillips said: “Entering the Kruger illegally and on foot is not wise as it holds very many dangers and this incident is clear evidence of that.
“It was very sad to see the daughters of the deceased man mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”
Mr Phillips commended the search party for finding what was left of the poacher to give the family “some closure” and extended the parks’ condolences to his relatives.
The four arrested individuals remained in police custody and will appear in court for poaching soon.
In July last year at least three poachers were eaten by a lion pride at the Sibuya Game Reserve in Eastern Province, South Africa, after they broke into the park to hunt rhino.
Owner Nick Fox said a head and a number of bloodied parts and limbs were recovered along with just a single empty shoe and their high powered hunting rifles and an axe.
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He said: “We are of course saddened at any loss of life but these men came to kill our animals and this sends out a powerful message to poachers that you will not always be the winner”.
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s biggest reserve in the country and covers over 12,000 square miles and is home to the Big Five of rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard.
A SAPS police spokesman confirmed four men were in custody and they are investigating a fatality.
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