Suspected rhino poacher killed by elephant and then eaten by lions, police say

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PHALABORWA, SOUTH AFRICA (CBS NEWS) — A suspected rhino poacher in South Africa was killed by an elephant before his body was apparently devoured by lions, authorities said. A search team in Kruger National Park was only able to recover a skull and a pair of pants.

South African National Parks said Friday that the victim and four accomplices were trying to poach a rhino Tuesday evening. The accomplices called the victim’s family and said he had been killed by an elephant.

An initial search party was unable to locate the body. During a search Thursday morning, authorities found the few remains of the suspected poacher. “Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains,” the park service said.

The South African Police Service said two of his alleged accomplices were arrested with rifles and ammunition in their possession.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” Kruger National Park Managing Executive Glenn Phillips said in a statement. “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.”

The suspected poacher has not been identified. His four accomplices are due in court, and the death is still being investigated.

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