A man believed to be a poacher was attacked and eaten by a pride of lions close to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Police revealed there was little left of the man's body when it was discovered over the weekend.
The remains were found at a private game park near Hoedspruit in the northern province of Limpopo on Saturday (10 February), alongside a loaded hunting rifle which led authorities to the conclusion that he was a poacher.
"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."
The number of animals being poached has increased in the area over recent years. In the case of lions, their body parts are sold off or used in traditional medicines. Their body parts can fetch a high price in Asia. Teeth alone can be sold for £500 each.
Wildlife photographer Charlie Lynham, who lives in the area, told Mail Online: "It turns out it was not the resident pride that lives here responsible as they were on a buffalo kill at the time of the incident but a pride perhaps come over from the Kruger.
"It happened on the border of the Umbabat Game Reserve after dark and may have been on their reserve. Two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game - especially elephant and rhino in the bush.
"I cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously the dead and eaten man.
Lynham goes on to suggest the victim may not have been hunting the lions.
"Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark, then that is another matter. It is purely speculation on my part but it would seem they either walked into a pride of lions in the darkness or they were stalked and attacked and a man was taken down and eaten."
"If you go out walking in the bush in the dark then I am afraid you are fair game in the wild and there is no way that anyone can attribute any blame to those lions for this kill."