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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poacher devoured by lion

A suspected wildlife poacher has been eaten by lions in Kruger National Park. Park rangers confirmed yesterday that they had found a human skull and fragments of clothing in the Phabeni area of the park after friends of the dead man had reported his disappearance. SA National Parks said that the man, whose name has not been released, was apparently laying snares for wildlife when he was chased by a group of hippos and later attacked and eaten by lions last weekend. Park spokesperson Laura Mukwevho said the dead man’’s family went to the Mkhulu police station last Wednesday to report his disappearance.

The case was referred to the Skukuza police station and it emerged that two wildlife poaching suspects being held at that station had already alerted his family to the possibility that he might have been killed by wild animals in the park. They later confessed to police and park rangers that they had entered the park illegally on March 12 to lay snares. The three men returned to the park the next day to check if any animals had been caught. “That night they came across hippos which charged them, and the men rain in different directions. The two suspects managed to escape the hippos and eventually get out of the park, but the third man never arrived home.”

The police subsequently referred the matter to park rangers who mounted a search operation in the area described by the suspects.“After two days of patrol, the rangers managed to pick up a few pieces of clothes and eventually a human skull on Saturday, March 20.”

Mukwevho said the two alleged accomplices were being held at Skukuza police station. Parks spokesperson William Mabasa expressed condolences to the family for the loss of their loved one.

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