Photo credit: Kevin Pluck

Rhino Poacher Trampled by Elephant, Eaten by Lions in South African Park

Officials were able to recover only a bloody skull and torn trousers.

A man who illegally entered South Africa’s Kruger National Park last week to poach rhinos met a grisly demise after he was stamped to death by an elephant and devoured by a pride of lions, according to park officials.

The family of the unidentified man told authorities that four of his “accomplices” contacted them. The group said an elephant trampled the man while they hunted rhino inside the park.

With information from the man’s alleged accomplices, KNP rangers deployed a search party on foot and by air Wednesday. They hoped to locate the man’s remains and “bring the family closure.”

On Thursday, rangers located “only a human skull and a pair of pants.” There were signs that a pride of lions had eaten the man’s remains.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” KNP managing executive Glenn Phillips said in a statement. “It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”

Authorities have the four alleged accomplices in custody. They will soon appear in court.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.