NEW YORK (CBS Local) – A suspected poacher was mauled to death and eaten by a pack of lions that he was allegedly hunting in South Africa. According to local reports, only the man’s head was left next to a rifle and some ammunition in the bushes of a private game park.
“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains,” Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.
The alleged poacher was found near South Africa’s Kruger National Park and local officials originally believed the body belonged to a 47-year-old tracker driver who had gone missing. “The person who was thought to be an employee who got stuck whilst driving a tractor is in fact alive,” Ngoepe said, via the Sowetan newspaper. Local workers said that the driver was able to walk to safety and called the entire area “lion territory.”
South African officials are still trying to identify the suspected poacher, but said that a match was possible since the man’s head was intact.
The global wild lion population has reportedly dropped to just 20,000 over the last two decades. Many hunters have been illegally killing the animals for their bones, which allegedly have medicinal powers and are said to help with virility.