Lions eat 'rhino poachers' on South African game reserve

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Rangers discovered the remains of two, possibly three, people in a lion enclosure in the Sibuya reserve, near the south-east town of Kenton-on-Sea.

The reserve's owner tells CNN he things the poachers got onto the reserve Sunday night or early Monday morning.

When members of the anti-poaching unit investigated, they recovered human remains, a high-powered rifle with a silencer, wire cutters, an axe and three pairs of shoes.

"At the same time the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions so he suspected that this was what had alerted her and was not concerned".

"We thought they must have been rhino poachers but the axe confirmed it", Mr Fox said.

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Fox has said that the reserve remains open notwithstanding the events earlier this week, AFP reported. Currently, Fox said, it's not certain how many poachers were killed.

As well as rhinos and lions, Sibuya's 30 square miles is also is home to the rest of Africa's Big Five: elephant, buffalo and leopard.

Local police forensic teams, assisted by Sibuya's Anti-poaching unit, are continuing the investigation with the aim to identify the bodies' remains.

Fox said he suspected more than one person was attacked by the lions - based on the evidence found on the scene.

Rhino poaching has been a rampant problem for African wildlife preserves, with the animal's horns highly prized in Asia where it is believed to have medicinal effects, particularly in China.

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In South Africa alone, more than 7,000 rhino have been killed in the last decade, according to the BBC.

A helicopter was called in to search for more poachers but none were found.

"We're nearly 100-percent sure this is connected to rhino poaching", the reserve's owner says.

The grisly finds are an unlikely juxtaposition of South Africa's illegal rhino poaching trade - which usually sees only one species of victim.

In 2016, three rhinos were killed when poachers sneaked into the park, shooting them and cutting off their horns.

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