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Suspected poacher trampled by elephant, eaten by lions

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Photo: Bernard DUPONT

JOHANNESBURG — A poacher has been trampled to death by an elephant and then eaten by a lion in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, officials confirmed Monday.

“Only the skull was found, the rest of the remains were not at the scene, presumably devoured,” Isaac Phaahla, a Kruger park spokesman told dpa, adding that the man appeared to have been eaten by a pride of lions.

Police Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, said three suspected accomplices of the dead poacher have been arrested and two hunting rifles seized.

“Some men had gone poaching…when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them,” said a statement Hlathi sent to dpa Monday.

“His accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passers-by could find it in the morning,” it said.

“A search operation was launched by police and rangers.. whereupon the human skull was found,” the statement added. According to Phaahla, the skull had been found on Thursday.

The three suspected poachers, aged between 26 and 35, are due in court on April 12.

Last year, a suspected illegal poacher was mauled to death by a pride of lions in a private game reserve in Limpopo province.

Illegal poaching, especially for rhino horns and ivory, is rife in game parks across South Africa.

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