Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lions Kill Poachers

Poachers are horrible human beings who kill rare animals, often driving them to extinction in order to sate the Western appetite for trophies, or the Chinese and African appetite for medicines or foods of dubious medicinal or nutritional value. Poachers thus add to the destruction of African wildlife and ultimately impoverish that continent in ways that are becoming increasingly obvious. So when I read these stories I wasn't exactly saddened. I was wondering though if the stories were really true. Both stories seemed like something out of a Kipling story. But some fact checking verified that although the events in one story had actually taken place in February, not June, everything else happened more or less as described.

So although I am not exactly esctatic that the poachers are dead sometimes that's the only way to stop bad people from doing worse things. The poachers knew the risks and paid the price. Perhaps if more things like this happened humans wouldn't be needlessly killing so many animals. Although there is a certain grim reciprocity in poachers being killed by lions ultimately the only fix is to convince people that killing animals for medicines that don't work or stupid religious reasons is not a good thing to do. And that understanding can't be imposed from the outside of a particular culture. It has to come from within. Otherwise the resentment at THEM telling US what to do is going to outweigh any arguments about the correctness of the actions. And obviously people have to believe that the benefit from poaching isn't worth the cost. That's going to take a while. But until then perhaps poachers should tread a bit more lightly. The Lion isn't sleeping tonight. Lions 2 Poachers 0.

A suspected big cat poacher has been eaten by lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police say. The animals left little behind, but some body parts were found over the weekend at a game park near Hoedspruit.

"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP. "They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains."

Police have not yet established the victim's identity. A loaded hunting rifle and ammunition were found next to the body, South African website Eyewitness News reports.
Lion poaching has been on the rise in Limpopo province in recent years

Sometime during the night of Sunday 1st and early hours of Monday 2nd July 2018, a group of at least three poachers entered Sibuya Game Reserve.

They were armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days – all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns.

One of our anti-poaching dogs alerted her handler at about 4.30 am Monday morning that something was amiss. 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. It is not unusual to hear them at night. However, it now appears likely that the dog had been alerted by something else out of the ordinary coming from the lions.

At about 4.30 pm on Tuesday 3rd July one of our field guides on game drive alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains as well as other items in the immediate vicinity of the lions. I was immediately called to the scene where along with the APU we found the high powered rifle, gloves, wire cutters and the remains of a back pack with food, water and other supplies. We immediately alerted the Indalo (Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves) Anti-Poaching Cluster and the Police.

Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed.

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