(WILDLIFE/POACHING) A group of rhino poachers are suspected to have been mauled to death and eaten by a pride of lions after sneaking into a South African game reserve sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

The staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve stumbled upon human remains along with weapons and tools typically used by poachers to kill rhinos and remove their horns, including a high-powered rifle with a silencer.

With more than 1,000 rhinos killed in South Africa last year, many are claiming these lions have come to the species’ rescue–even if only inadvertently.

Continue reading and view the video clip below for more on this story in which the hunters become the hunted. — Global Animal

Time, Gina Martinez

A group of rhino poachers were eaten by a pride of lions in Kenton-on-the-Sea, according to the owner of the South African wildlife reserve where the incident happened.

The remains of what appears to be three bodies were discovered on the Simbuya Game Reserve along with high power rifles owner Nick Fox said in a statement. Fox said the poachers’ mangled remains are suspected to have been eaten by a pride of six lions who were on the reservation to protect the endangered and highly targeted rhinos who are hunted for their horns.

These lions mauled to death alleged rhino poachers in South Africa. Photo was taken in April 2018. Photo Credit: Sibuya Game Reserve/Facebook

The poachers entered the reserve with a slew of weapons — including a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and food supplies for a number of days — on the night of July 1 or the early hours of July 2. Fox, who said the reserve has had previous run ins with poachers, said that the supplies found are all the hallmarks of “a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns.”

The wildlife reserve’s owners became aware that something was wrong when anti-poaching dogs alerted a handler, who then heard a loud commotion coming from the lions.

Fox said a field guide alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains and poaching weapons near the lions earlier this week. He then alerted local authorities and the Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves.

As of Thursday, it is not clear exactly how many poachers were killed, according to Fox, but local police are still investigating.

More Time: http://time.com/5331205/rhino-poachers-killed-lions-south-africa/

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