Elephant tramples suspected poacher to death at Kruger National Park

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The road leading to the Manyeleti Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
The road leading to the Manyeleti Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
­Photo by Oris Mnisi
  • A suspected poacher was found dead in the Kruger National Park on Thursday.
  • The man had been trampled to death by an elephant, sustaining horrific injuries.
  • Last year another suspected poacher was eaten by lions inside the park and only his skull was found.

A suspected poacher met a gruesome end when he was trampled to death by an elephant at the Kruger National Park.

The man's body was discovered on Thursday in Stolznek, a section inside the park.

Park spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said they discovered the body through an intelligence driven operation.

He said they received a call on their emergency number about a body in the park and followed up on it.

The person who gave them the tip-off did not provide an exact location, but had given them clues.

He said rangers followed the clues as well as the tracks on the ground and discovered the body.

"Initial investigations suspect that the deceased was killed by an elephant and left behind by his accomplices.

READ | Three poachers get an effective 35 years behind bars for killing 3 female rhinos

"Nothing was found except that body. We believe that he was trampled by elephants due to the nature of the injuries he sustained. We had a similar incident last year where a man, a suspected poacher, was eaten by lions and only his skull was found."

Phaahla said even though rangers had not found a gun or another weapon near the body, the reason they believed the man was a poacher was because he was in one of the park's restricted areas.

They also believed the person or people who had called to alert them of the man's death, was his accomplices as they wanted his body to be found.

"No animal was killed in the immediate vicinity. Kruger National Park management continues to warn poachers that it is dangerous to hunt illegally in the park. Criminals stand to lose their lives and freedom."

According to Phaahla, while they continually sent out messages against poaching, their biggest problem was criminality.

"We have to keep sending these messages as we can't change a criminal mind."


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