A big cat poacher in South Africa was killed and eaten by a pride of lions when hunting at a private game reserve.
As he screamed, he was heard by people at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, just outside of Phalaborwa.
At first, the police thought the mauled man was a tractor driver, but then, through investigations, they found out he was a poacher.
Further, the police in Limpopo have asked for help from the Department of Home Affairs in order to identify the dead man, who was not carrying any documents whatsoever at the time of his demise.
'The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was among the remains found at the scene,’ said police lieutenant-colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.
'The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest,’ added a local worker as he described the area as being lion territory.
'A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten.'
Mr. Ngoepe further said that in the course of the investigation, a possibility arose that the deceased might have been a poacher since a hunting rifle was found near the scene of the attack.
British wildlife photographer Charlie Lynham, who lives close to the reserve and who arrived shortly after the paramedics, was told that the suspected poacher was killed, but it was still unclear as to whether the attack happened in the Ingwelala area or in a neighboring reserve.
Mr. Lynham then gave an account as to what happened as he understood it thus far:
It turns out it was not the resident pride that lives here responsible as they were on a buffalo kill at the time of the incident but a pride perhaps come over from the [Kruger National Park].
It happened on the border of the Umbabat Game Reserve after dark and may have been on their reserve.
Two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game -- especially elephant and rhino in the bush.
' cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously the dead and eaten man.
... Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark, then that is another matter.
It is purely speculation on my part but it would seem they either walked into a pride of lions in the darkness or they were stalked and attacked and a man was taken down and eaten.
The other two it seems ran off and two .456 big game rifles were found and ammunition.
Lynham then said that he had been photographing the Ingwelala pride for several years and was 'concerned in case it was them in case they got accused of attacking humans and there were calls to kill them.'
'But it as not our pride and was probably one from the Kruger that come over the border,' he said.
'If you go out walking in the bush in the dark then I am afraid you are fair game in the wild and there is no way that anyone can attribute any blame to those lions for this kill.'