Poachers, hunting rhino, instead get hunted by lions

Poachers, hunting rhino, instead get hunted by lions
The Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa believes perhaps two or three poachers were killed.

(RNN) – The wild can be a kill-or-be-killed world.

Some poachers who snuck into a South African game reserve looking to hunt endangered rhino wound up on the wrong end of that equation, apparently getting eaten by lions.

Nick Fox, owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve near South Africa's southeastern tip, relayed the story in a Facebook post on Thursday.

"One of our field guides on game drive alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains as well as other items in the immediate vicinity of the lions," Fox wrote. "Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed."

The reserve believes perhaps two or three poachers were killed.

"We're not sure how many there were - there's not much left of them," Fox told Agence France-Presse.

Fox said the items that were found – a high powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and food supplies that would have lasted them days – had "all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns."

Rhino poaching has been a rampant problem for African wildlife preserves, with the animal's horns highly prized in Asia where it is believed to have medicinal effects, particularly in China.

The organization Save The Rhino states: "When used, the horn is shaved or ground into a powder, before being dissolved in boiling water and consumed."

According to the group, traditional Chinese medical practice believes the concoction can help treat fever, rheumatism, gout, snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning and "devil possession."

In the Asian black market they can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single horn.

Trading of rhino horn is widely banned by international and national authorities, though a court ruling in South Africa last year favor of breeders last year has legalized a domestic market for the horns.

Breeders argue a regulated market is the best way to combat poachers and save rhino.

In South Africa alone, more than 7,000 rhino have been killed in the last decade, according to the BBC.

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