Five suspected poachers entered Kruger National Park in South Africa last week to live there, according to authorities.
Four of the men left alive. by a pride of lions, park officials said in a statement.
"Entering the Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise; National Park
The four alleged poachers who survived were arrested and will appear in court "in due course," the statement said. They will remain in custody until Friday, pending bail, reported Times Live, a South African news site. Authorities have launched an investigation into alleged death and accomplices
Park officials did not immediately respond to a request from The Washington Post
Police Brig. Leonard Hlathi customs times live that the elephant attacked "suddenly," killing the man.
"His accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning," Hlathi said. "They then vanished from the park."
The suspected poachers called the dead man's family, which then called Don English, regional ranger for Skukuzu ̵
A search party, including rangers on foot and a crew with the South African National Parks air wing, scoured the area Wednesday but did not find the man. They resumed their efforts Thursday and found the man's remains in the Crocodile Bridge area of the park near the Crocodile River.
All that the lions had left behind the man was his skull and a pair of pants, authorities said. 19659002] In the park statement, Phillips commended the search party for helping the family find closure. He also offered the family his condolences.
"It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains," Phillips said. 19659004] When the other suspected poachers were arrested, authorities seized two .375 hunting rifles and ammunition. The men were charged with firearm possession and ammunition without a license, conspiracy to poach and trespassing, Times Live reported.
South Africa is home to the continent's largest rhino population – about 20,000 of the 25,000 living in Africa. And it holds almost 80 percent of the world's rhino population.
Although numbers have been steadily declining in recent years, more than 8,000 rhinos have been killed in the past decade. Poaching numbers were most severe between 2013 and 2017, when more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa annually, according to statistics from Save the Rhino. Those numbers dipped below 1,000 in 2018, with 769 total poachings.
Save the Rhino reports that half of all poachings occur in the Kruger National Park.