The lions struck back.
A man whose body was found Friday in a South African national park appears to have been a game poacher who ran across a pride of lions who didn’t appreciate the attention.
According to USA Today, citing local news accounts, the body was found near a rifle and ammunition, leading authorities to conclude he had been hunting in the protected area.
Initial accounts tentatively identified the man as possibly a local farmworker whose tractor had broken down, but later investigation indicated his presence in the park wasn’t as innocent as that.
“It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains,” police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe said, according to Limpopo Eyewitness News.
The man has not yet been identified.
“We are still trying all other means, including the Home Affairs Department, to get his history, which may lead us to his residential place,” Ngoepe said, according to the Sowetan newspaper.
“The process of identifying the deceased has already commenced and it might be made possible by the fact that his head is among the remains that were found at the scene.”
Well, that’s probably not going to be much comfort to the man’s survivors anyway.
But the death might not be much of a surprise.
Besides being illegal, poaching game is extremely dangerous work – though it can be lucrative because the supposed restorative powers of certain animal parts makes for a huge market for illegally killed animals in certain parts of Asia.
In October, for instance, a poacher tracking rhinoceroses in Namibia was charged and badly wounded by one of the beasts he was trying to kill to harvest their horns, according to a separate USA Today account.
Rhino horns are believed in some Asian countries to be able to restore male virility. They also are valued as material for expensive jewelry, USA Today reported.
Now, it’s not moral or right to wish harm on any human being, and anyone should be able to feel at least a little sorry for a guy who meets his end at the brutal, bloody claws and teeth of wild lions.
It has to be terrifying as well as excruciatingly painful.
But heading onto a South African national park loaded for hunting – and without even the permit giving you a legal right to do it – is a dangerous decision. And whoever makes it has to live – or die – with the consequences.
Because sometimes the lions strike back.
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