A suspected big cat trophy hunter has been killed and eaten by the pride of lions he was allegedly hunting at a South African game reserve. The man could be heard screaming for help as the beasts mauled him at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Limpopo province. Although his cries raised the alarm, the lions quickly killed him and devoured most his body before being chased from the scene.
His head was the only part of him left untouched. It is now the only means available to police of identifying the alleged poacher – who was carrying no documents when he was attacked. A hunting rifle was also discovered close to what was left of the man’s blood-drenched body. Officers believe the item belonged to him.
The incident comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn in Namibia. At first, police thought the man eaten by lions was a tractor driver who worked at the game reserve in Hoedspruit, outside Phalaborwa. But when he turned up alive, they realized the deceased man may have been a poacher.
Officers in Limpopo have now called in the Department of Home Affairs to help them to try to find out who the suspected hunter is. Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said: “The person who we first thought it was believed to be an employee who was driving a tractor.
“It was thought his tractor broke down and the lions got him as he walked back to the compound but he was found to be alive. “The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene”. Lions kill up to 250 people a year in Africa.
A male typically weighs 190kg, while a female weighs 130kg. There are currently less than 20,000 of the animals left in the wild on the continent. Their bones are worth a small fortune in the Far East, with a skeleton fetching up to £7,000 and the skin, £3,000. Teeth can fetch £500 each.