Elephant Kills Suspected Poacher, and Lions Devour Him

It’s karma all over again.

A man suspected of hunting rhinos in the Crocodile Bridge section of Kruger National Park in South Africa last week was killed by an elephant. Lions then devoured his body. Only his skull and a pair of pants remained, according to park officials. 

The man, who has not yet been identified, entered the park on April 2 along with several accomplices. The poachers intended to target and kill rhinos.

The surviving accomplices called the man’s family to report that he had been “killed by an elephant while they were in the KNP to poach rhino on Tuesday evening,” according to officials.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Four of these men have since been arrested, although it is unclear exactly what charges they will face.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise,” said Glenn Phillips, the managing executive of the park. “It holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that.”

I’m amazed Phillips was able to keep his comments so civil, in the face of this just revenge on a poacher who could care less about wildlife.

And, hey, let’s hear it for the elephant who was willing to defend his rhino buddies against a marauding human — one who was out to murder a beautiful animal for the sake of its horn.

A similar incident occurred last July, when another group of rhino poachers broke into Simbuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-the-Sea. They intended to kill rhinos for their horns, but instead the poachers became the prey when a pride of lions killed and ate them.

Care2’s Laura Goldman described what was left of these poachers:

Alongside a skull and other human remains were three pairs of boots and gloves — and a high-powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and a backpack filled with enough food and water to last several days.

These supplies had “all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns,” sad Nick Fox, owner of the preserve, in a press release.

It’s sweet revenge for all the wild animals who have been killed at the hands of hunters.

Why Do Poachers Hunt Rhinos?

Aside from the sadistic pleasure that some people take in killing innocent animals, rhino horn is a special attraction — and that’s why guards at South Africa’s parks are often armed.

A rhino horn is a treasured ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, since it is mistakenly believed to have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. In fact, horns are composed of 100 percent keratin, the equivalent of human nails and hair. The material provides no known benefits to human health.

Nevertheless, as Michael Slattery, founder of the Texas Christian University Rhino Initiative, explains:

It’s one of the most expensive wildlife products on the illegal market and that’s why these poachers go after it. The current prices for a rhino horn are anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 a kilogram. They are seeing dollar signs. It is more expensive than gold and cocaine, so the demand is driving these poachers.

Slattery goes on to explain that it’s more lucrative for poachers if they can get a complete rhino horn. To do that, they drug the animal and then use a machete to “hack away at the face,” before abandoning the rhino to bleed to death.

South Africa is home to about 20,000 of the 30,000 wild rhinos still alive in the world.

The number of rhino poachers soared dramatically between 2008 and 2015, although for the past few years, the number of rhinos poached has decreased.

Even so, the overall numbers are staggering. According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, over 7,000 rhinos have been hunted illegally since 2008, and 1,028 were murdered in 2017. 

Take Action! 

At one point, China had placed a ban on rhino horn, which would have been a great solution to this horrible problem. However, last year the country reversed its decision.

We need to stop this monstrous slaughter of rhinos. If you agree, please sign this Care2 petition, demanding that China reinstate its ban on rhino horn and tiger horn.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


Nicky Heindryckx
Nicky H17 hours ago

Why in Heaven's name are Chinese men so impotent?? That's the question. They always say the elephant tusks and rhino's horn are aphrodisiacs. Then I presume they all have erection problems or not? It is just B.S. And when did this madness start. Could they kill these giant animals 1,000 years ago? And how was it brought into China? I think scientists already can prove that the rhino horn and the elephant tusk just do nothing otherwise the Chinese could easily eat their own fingernails or hair. But I wonder when this story was invented and why?? Maybe in giving them a decent answer to these questions they would eventually stop using it... And that would solve a lot of problems. This article is of course not funny because I think of the wife and kids they are leaving behind. But they should have known better. In doing such "work" you know there are big risks. Therefore no compassion with the guys who were killed and eaten. Maybe some machos will now first think and then act. This will avoid them from being killed by elephants or other giants and be devoured by lions. I have no compassion with these guys. Karma did a very good job. This should happen more often...

Leo C
Leo Cyesterday

Thank you for sharing!

Julie D
Julie D3 days ago

Excellent team work! The poacher got what they deserved, not an ounce of pity from me.

Terri S
Terri S3 days ago

They should build a wall so the animals can mount and display their kills!! Hahahahaha!!!

Diane P
Diane P3 days ago

Finally some good news! These animals are heroes! The world would be a better place if all poachers and hunters could meet the same fate!

jane Oldfield
jane Oldfield3 days ago

So there is a God after all. Better still that those Chinese with their primitive beliefs and mumbo jumbo would join the 21st century and be a bit more enlightened about the natural world.

Fred L
Fred L3 days ago

@Marty P ~"Killing poachers is the only way to guarantee they won't be back."~ That's true about those particular poachers. But the way to stop poaching is to cut off the market for poached products. The way to do that would be to execute all merchants and consumers of those products. Unfortunately, that's too Draconian for most folks. Considering we have nearly eight Billion humans on this planet, and ever dwindling wildlife, it's past time for drastic action.

Rosemary Rannes
Rosemary Rannes3 days ago

Thank you Judy for caring2share this story. I signed the petition demanding that China reinstate the ban on Rhino horn and Tiger bone. The traditional medicine industry has been misguided for centuries, but now that we are all in the 21st century together, it would be incumbent on the Chinese government to recognise what they have already known for years, and end the illegal trafficking of Rhino horn and Tiger bone, as well as the illegal trade of wild animal body parts!
Global eyes are now on the Chinese to do the right thing, and we hope they do!
Sending prayers for all my Relations.

Julia R
Julia R4 days ago

This is great news! But, why did China reverse its ban on rhino horn? So many rhinos have been killed in the last 5-8 years that it is hard to even contemplate! How much longer can these poor animals hang on! Shame on you China! You are certainly sending the wrong message!

Debbi W
Debbi W4 days ago

Good for the elephant and the lion. They are my heroes.