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Media Release: KNP lions devour a suspected poacher

Date: 2010-03-23

Kruger National Park (KNP) field rangers discovered a human skull of what is believed to be the remains of a suspected poacher who was devoured by lions on March 14, 2010.

The skull was discovered on Saturday, March 20, 2010 after he was reported missing at Mkhuhlu Police Station by family on March 17, 2010 and the case was referred to Skukuza Police Station for further investigation. Two individuals, who are currently poaching suspects and were with the deceased inside the park, actually alerted his family about the possibility of him having being killed by animals in the park.

The police subsequently referred the matter to the KNP Rangers who together with the police mounted a search campaign in the area which was described by the suspects as the possible scene of his disappearance. After two days of patrol, the Rangers managed to pick-up few pieces of clothes and eventually the skull on Saturday, March 20, 2010.

According to these suspects who were with the deceased, the three men entered the park around Phabeni area on the night of March 12, 2010 to place snares in the area. The following night on March 13, 2010 they went back to check if there was any catch on their snares and nothing was caught. That night the suspects alerted the attention of hippos who charged them, however, they managed to escape and eventually got out of the park. The deceased was not fortunate enough to make an escape and that is when the two suspects decided to inform his family about what had happened. This is when the case was reported to the police three days later on March 17, 2010.

The two suspects are currently being held at the Skukuza Police Station for further questioning as they are allegedly linked to other poaching cases. “On behalf of SANParks, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the family for the loss of their loved one”, said the KNP’s HOD: Public Relations, Mr William Mabasa. He further went on to send a strong warning to both poachers and tourists to please understand that there are dangerous wild animals roaming around in the park and therefore should avoid walking or getting out of vehicles anywhere inside the park other than in the designated areas. “Many lives have been lost to wild animals due to people not taking the necessary precautions”, concluded Mr Mabasa.

Issued by:

Laura Mukwevho, Internal Communication Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4262 or email:


William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: