At least three suspected poachers have been killed by Lions on a game reserve in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Staff at the privately owned Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea found badly mauled human remains, in an area of dense bush within the reserve, which appear to have come from at least three people, along with three pairs of shoes, which supports the idea that there were at least three men killed, and axes and high-powered riffles, which suggests that they were engaged in poaching.
A Lion on the Sibuya Game Reserve. Sibuya Game Reserve.
Lions are sometimes deliberately targeted by poachers within game reserves, as their bones are used in some traditional African medicine or traded in Asia as the more sort after bones of Tigers, but it is likely that if the victims were poaching in the park then they was looking for more conventional prey, such as antelope for eating or Rhinoceros or Elephant for their more widely traded horns and tusks, and that their encounter with the Lions was simply bad luck and/or lack of experience of hunting in Lion territory.
Lions are currently listed as Vulnerable under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, as they underwent a 43% decline in population globally during the period 1993-2014 (roughly three generations in Lion terms). This decline has largely been fuelled by habitat loss, combined with deliberate killing of the animals to protect Humans, and their livestock, expanding their range into the Lion's territory. However the species has actually undergone an increase in population size in four Southern African countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), where large wildlife parks are heavily protected against incursion and poaching to protect other species.
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