Pride of lions kill suspected rhino poachers on game preserve

Rhino poachers

Rhino poachers

A group of poachers were bested by a pride of lions after they broke into a South African game reserve in a bid to stalk and slaughter a herd of rhinos.

An anti-poaching dog alerted its handler around 4:30 a.m. Monday, but the handler brushed off concerns. At the same time, the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions, which she then suspected was the reasoning behind why the dog got her attention to begin with.

"However, it now appears likely that the dog had been alerted by something else out of the ordinary coming from the lions", Fox said. They were "armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an ax, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days", according to a press release. "Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed", according to a Facebook post by Fox.

An initial investigation conducted a day after the Monday, July 2, incident reveals the details behind the apparent dismembering of the poachers.

Rhinoceros poaching is up by more than 8,000 percent across South Africa since 2007, a 2017 ABC News report found. Poachers can sell the horns for as much as $300,000 each on the illegal wildlife markets in Asia, where people believe they have medicinal value.

Following the attack, the lions were shot with a anesthetized dart so forensic teams could sift through the immediate area for further clues.

"At Sibuya Game Reserve, we only view game from specialised game-viewing vehicles and not on foot due to the extremely dense bush and this forest on the reserve", Fox said.