A person, strongly suspected of poaching, was trampled to death by an elephant in a South African national park before being eaten by lions. This recent episode shows that poaching is still very active in South African national parks.
The family alerted the police
A statement published on the 5 April 2019, related that the accident took place in the Kruger National Park (South Africa). According to authorities, the deceased entered the park with four others to poach White Rhinoceros. Other members of the party told the family of the deceased their loved one was killed by an elephant. The family the contacted Park rangers so a search could be launched to find the body.
The research party – who arrested the four other individuals – finally found the torn remains of the deceased:
“Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants,” states the report.
Authorities expressed their condolences for the family but have reemphasized the dangers of entering into the park, especially on foot. An inquest has been launched in order to shed more light on to the incident.
White Rhinoceros poaching
White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) are a classed as a near threatened on the Red List of Threatened Animals. Almost 80% of the global population are found in South Africa, which is the equivalent to 20, 000 individuals. Due to severe poaching in other areas of Africa, White Rhinoceros have had to be reintroduced (in Zambia) or are completely extinct (this is the case in Chad and the Congo). As a result, many poachers are attracted to South Africa who are looking to profit from the sale of Rhinoceros horns. A little as one kg is worth 60, 000 dollars!
In Asia, Rhinoceros horns are highly sought after, particularly in China or in Vietnam as they are meant to have therapeutic virtues. In traditional medicine, the powder of the horn is meant to treat fevers and cardiovascular illnesses. This pseudo drug is sometimes even prescribed as as anticancer or aphrodisiac treatment. The fact is that rhinoceros horns contain only agglomerated keratin, some amino acids, minerals, phosphorus and other calcium.