It’s not often that poetic justice comes to fruition in real life. According to a wildlife reserve in South Africa, a group of poachers was mauled to death and eaten by a pride of lions after breaking into the reserve illegally. Nick Fox, owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve, says that judging by the gear left by the group, they were likely poaching the endangered rhinos found on the property.
“We’re almost 100 per cent sure this is connected to rhino poaching,” Fox said.
Staff first became aware of human remains near a group of lions when one worker came across them on Tuesday night. A search of the area the next morning revealed three sets of boots, three pairs of gloves, a high-powered hunting rifle with silencer, wire-cutters and an ax (for removing rhino horns).
Fox told the media that he believes the poachers entered the reserve illegally either Sunday night or Monday morning and approached the lions on foot shortly after. He explained that none of the staff at the reserve ever approach the animals on foot, instead using large vehicles if they need to enter the area. The poachers didn’t fire a single shot on the reserve before they were overtaken by the lions.
Authorities have said that there were at least three individuals in the party (judging by the number of boots and gloves) but that the investigation is ongoing and it is too soon to determine exactly how many were attacked.
Many felt unsympathetic toward the poachers and their unfortunate fate. Online, people were quick to point to karma as the reason for the lion attack. Breaking into a protected reserve with the intention of hunting endangered species will earn you no friends on the internet.
The devil works hard but the lions work harder
— ♡ sophie ♡ (@clarytingz) July 5, 2018
— Jake 🐍 Kaplan (@BakeMeAJake) July 5, 2018
@catalyst622 This is karma and the universe in action. Those rhino poached got what they deserved.
— Courtney Beckham (@cabeckham) July 5, 2018
Fox’s sympathy for the party was also slim. As he said to CNN, “It was a bit of luck for us and not so much luck for them.”
He also provided comment to Buzzfeed, saying, “I just thank my lions. They saved our rhinos from another onslaught.”
He added, “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.”
This report comes at the end of a week that began with a woman going viral for killing an endangered black giraffe and posing with its body. There was mass outrage over the controversial post, followed by a heated and controversial dialogue about trophy killing.