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Would-be poachers savaged, dismembered by lions in rhinoceros reserve

A trio of would-be poachers were mauled to death and dismembered when they entered a rhinoceros reserve with the apparent intent of killing the animals for their horns.

The Daily Express reports that at least three people were mauled to death, their bodies torn apart by lions, at the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa.

“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more,” reserve owner Nick Fox told the news outlet.

“They were armed with high-powered rifles with silencers and an ax for the horns and wire cutters and sidearms and they had enough food with them to last for many days …They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.”

Investigators searched by helicopter for evidence of additional poachers in the reserve but did not find anything.

“We do not know identities but firearms have been taken by the police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to see if they have been used in poaching before,” police spokeswoman Capt. Mali Govender told the Daily Express.

In 2016, poachers reportedly entered the reserve and killed three rhinos before cutting off their horns.

“Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner,” Fox said.