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By Staff Writers | Sputnik
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018

Suspected Poacher Torn to Pieces by Lion Pack in South African Park

An Abyssinian lion © AFP 2018/ Zacharias Abubeke

A suspected poacher was eaten alive by lions close to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, leaving behind little more than the man’s head, police said on Monday.

The remains were discovered this past weekend in the bushes of the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve near Hoedspruit, a town located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, where an increasing number of animals have been poached in recent years.

"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," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.

The police assume the man was a poacher because he allegedly intruded on the reserve and a loaded hunting rifle was found near his remains Saturday morning. Lion body parts are used in traditional medicine, called "muti," in South Africa. The word "muti" is derived from the Zulu word Umuthi, which means "tree."

Police are still trying to determine the victim's identity.

"The process of identifying the deceased has already commenced and it might be made possible by the fact that his head is amongst the remains that were found at the scene," Ngoepe explained.

Humans in Limpopo province have had run-ins with lions in the recent past. Last year, several lions were found poisoned near a farm, with their paws and heads sawed off.

Poachers also typically seek out rhinoceroses in South Africa's game parks. Rhino horns are believed to have medicinal properties in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries.

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