Poacher is trampled to death by an elephant before his remains are eaten by lions

A man attempting to poach a rhino in the Kruger National Park was crushed to death by an elephant before being eaten by a pride of lions leaving behind his skull and a pair of pants

Three of the victim’s friends ran away after the victim was crushed by the elephant and rang his family.

The victim’s family contacted the park’s ranger service who launched a search on foot on Wednesday.

The Kruger National Park Air Wing also searched for the victim’s body but had to return to base due to failing light.

On Thursday, the search for the missing man was resumed.

According to Don English, Skukuza Regional Ranger, the man’s body was recovered near the Crocodile bridge section of the park.

According to Mr English: ‘Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants.’

Glenn Phillips, managing executive of the reserve said: ‘Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that.

‘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.’

Mr Phillips said the man’s four accomplices were arrested and will appear in court in due course.

Local police have arrested three of the man’s accomplices and seized two .375 hunting rifles and ammunition.

According to Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, police spokesman: ‘The suspects appeared yesterday, April 5, 2019, at the Komatipoort Magistrate’s Court facing charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, conspiracy to poach as well as trespassing.

‘Upon their appearance, the court remanded them in custody and will reappear at the same court on April 12, 2019, pending a formal bail application.

‘An inquest was opened in connection with the dead suspect.’