The dangers of the African Safari are the stuff of legend. Despite these dangers, a group of poachers learned the hard way why trifling with mother nature is a bad idea. Africa is home to an increasing number of wildlife reserves and animal sanctuaries. This largely is to help combat the growing list of endangered species native to the region. Many serve as the only locations outside of zoos with breedable pairs and, thus, are the last hope for many species. However, with rarity comes commodity. Due to the high price on the black market for the various limbs of endangered animals, these sites have become prime targets for poachers.
As Nick Fox posted to social media, a group of poachers broke into the preserve near Kento-on-the-Sea in early July. Fox is the owner and head of the preserve. Everyone was in for a rude awakening. According to Fox, he heard a loud noise around 4:30 am, but did not think anything of it. There are several animals on the preserve that are highly active at night, so it was not out of the ordinary for him. It was later in the day that he decided to investigate. During their inspection, he and his team found the remains of the poachers. Based on the scene, reports speculate there were as many as three men. As is often the case with poachers, they were heavily armed. They brought survival gear as well as at least one high-powered rifle, a silencer, and an ax. Based on these items, it is assumed that their intention to hunt the rhino on the reserve. They then, presumably, would hack at the horn with their ax and sell it later. Before they could carry out their purpose, the men were jumped by a pride of lions. It is unclear how many lions were involved. According to a statement from Fox, there was not a lot of the men’s bodies left. The lions either devoured or scattered everything except for one skull and portions of a pelvis. The only way anyone was able to estimate their number was based on the three pairs of shoes and gloves at the scene.
Virtually no one feels sorry for the men. Poaching is considered an illegal activity by many nations. Had the men been caught, they likely would have been fined. The issue has caused multiple controversies, petitions, and led to viral stories across the world. Despite this, poaching is still common. Shortly before the incident at the Shibuya Game Reserve, poachers killed 87 elephants for their tusks in Botswana. Even with such a large number, no one was fully aware of the extent until after a routine aerial survey. The poachers had decapitated them for easy transport and hid the rest of their bodies under bushes and trees. At the time it was considered the largest incident of elephant killing in the country. Yet even with the backlash, poaching continues to plague Africa and other areas. More has to be done to shut down the demand on the black market for exotic animal parts.