There are only 20,00 African Lions left in the wild currently, having been impacted by loss of habitat, and poachers. Although they have no natural predators, their numbers have diminished by 40% just within the last three generations.
That sounds scary, but it’s nothing like the Northern White Rhino. The last male Northern White Rhino died in March of this year, after being hunted to almost literal extinction because humans are stupid and believe stupid things. Just this past year, over 1000 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa.
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But on July 3rd, a discovery was made at the Sibuya Game Reserve that shows that the security guards at the reserve are very effective. According to the Sibuya Game Reserve’s press release, a pride of six lions killed multiple poachers that were apparently planning on killing rhinos on the reserve’s grounds:
Sometime during the night of Sunday 1st and early hours of Monday 2nd July a group of at least three poachers entered Sibuya Game Reserve.
They were armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an axe, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days – all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns.
One of our anti-poaching dogs alerted her handler at about 4.30 am Monday morning that something was amiss. At the same time the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions so he suspected that this was what had alerted her and was not concerned. It is not unusual to hear them at night. However, it now appears likely that the dog had been alerted by something else out of the ordinary coming from the lions.
At about 4.30 pm on Tuesday 3rd July one of our field guides on game drive alerted the Anti-Poaching Unit that there appeared to be human remains as well as other items in the immediate vicinity of the lions. I was immediately called to the scene where along with the APU we found the high powered rifle, gloves, wire cutters and the remains of a back pack with food, water and other supplies. We immediately alerted the Indalo (Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves) Anti-Poaching Cluster and the Police.
Clearly, the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed.
As it was already dark it was not possible to investigate the area until first light at which time we arranged for our vet to dart the entire pride of lions so that Police forensic teams assisted by our Anti-poaching unit could comb the immediate area for clues. At this stage it is not clear exactly how many poachers were killed but the Police forensic team continue to investigate
Nick Fox – Reserve Owner
I would like to extend my most sincere #thoughtsandprayers as the poachers #restinpieces.
According to the Daily Mail:
One head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs have been recovered from the area, along with three pairs of empty shoes.
They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here. But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal.
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.
I’m not sad. I don’t know that any decent person is sad. After all, when you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.
And I mean really – if it’s natural, surely that means it’s good for you, right?
The reaction on Twitter has been just about what you’d expect:
Good kitty. https://t.co/hnCr6iuT79
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 5, 2018
Rest In Pieces https://t.co/0PqVt9mrBY
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 5, 2018
You can learn more about the Sibuya Game Reserve on their website.