South African authorities have confirmed that 9 men were killed and 3 others were severely injured when attacked by a pride of lions in the Kruger National Park.
The victims are local poachers who were illegally hunting for Rhinos inside the boundaries of the national park, when they were surprised by a group of almost ten adult Southwest African lions, the same species as Cecil the Lion, who died a few kilometres from the site in July 2015.
The felines’ attack was so sudden and violent, that nine of the fourteen men were killed, three severely injured and two were only lightly injured, while the animals were mostly unhurt. The survivors abandoned their dead comrades on the site and hurried back to a nearby village for medical care, where they were rapidly arrested.
Skukuza’s spokesperson, William Mabasa, told reporters that the poachers were visibly terrified by their experience and he hopes this incident serves as a lesson to other poachers.
“THE MEN WERE VISIBLY TRAUMATIZED BY THE ATTACK,” HE SAID,
“AND AFTER SEEING THEIR INJURIES AND THE REMAINS OF THEIR DEAD COMRADES, I CAN SEE WHY. THESE GUYS WERE TOUGH CRIMINALS CARRYING AK-47S, BUT THEY WERE LITERALLY SHRED TO PIECES AND DEVOURED BY THE LIONS. I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN ANIMAL ATTACK REACH THIS LEVEL OF VIOLENCE, AND I HAVE SEEN A LOT!”
Their first appearance in court is expected to take place on July 4th, when they will be facing sentences of up to 25 years in jail and fines of up to R100 000.