‘The head was still there’: Lions maul, devour suspected poacher’s body, leaving only his head behind

A suspected poacher was trapped and mauled to death in South Africa by a pack of lions on Saturday, who apparently left nothing behind of the man aside from his head.

Metro reports that the hunter was attacked at the at the Kruger National Park, in the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, after alleedly hunting illegally at the private game reserve. At first, authorities thought the victim was a game warden who worked at the reserve, but after finding the warden alive, they realized the victim was likely a poacher.

“The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene,” Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe stated, noting that they didn’t find any identification cards for the victim.

An employee at a nearby reserved reportedly said the victim was heard screaming before the lions devoured him.

“A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten. The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest.”

According to Lion Aid, lion parts are used for numerous purposes across Africa, including traditional medicine, which is one of the reasons, per experts, that lion poaching continues in the country. For instance, while lion fat is said to treat back and joint pain, lion veins reportedly treat erectile dysfunction. Livers of lions are used to treat headaches, while lion noses are said to treat stomach issues.

A 2009 study conducted by the Born Free Foundation in Nigeria concluded that half of the people who participated in the survey said they wore “layas,” meaning lion skin, which supposedly helps people gain spiritual power while warding off negative spirits. Others used lion skin to help ward off the whooping cough.

In 2017, several lions were found killed in the same area where the poacher attack occurred. According to AFB, the lions’ paws and heads were chopped off after poachers poisoned them.

[Feature Photo: Pixabay]