Suspected Poacher Eaten by Pack of Lions in South Africa

CC BY 2.0. Keven Pluck

The moral of the story is: Don't go out and try to shoot lions.

It would be untoward to celebrate the violent death of anyone – this is not a victory lap, there will be no "just deserts" jokes (she says, making the joke without making the joke). But the reality is hard to deny: If you're going to sneak into a nature preserve at night and try to illegally kill a rare and dangerous wild animal, well, there may be consequences. And those consequences might be getting mauled to death and eaten.

And such is the news from a private South African game reserve near Hoedspruit in the northern province of Limpopo, where more and more animals have been killed illegally over the past few years. The suspected poacher was killed by the lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa, police said, adding that little was left of the victim's body, reports AFP.

"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions. They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told AFP.

At first officials thought the victim was a local tractor driver; but then the driver showed up alive and police found a loaded hunting rifle near the body. They found other weapons and ammunition after further searching, and two other sets of footprints, suggesting there was a small team of poachers working together. They are still trying to determine the identity of the victim.

Last year in Limpopo, several lions were found poisoned with their heads and paws sawn off.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the lion population has experienced a reduction of approximately 43 percent over the past 21 years. They note that, among other things, lion populations are threatened by trade in bones and other body parts for traditional medicine, both within Africa and in Asia.

May this grisly news serve as a cautionary tale...