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Family IDs severed head of suspected poacher eaten by lions.

A suspected poacher who was killed and eaten by the pride of lions he was stalking has been named as David Baloyi, 50, who had crossed over the South African border to hunt game. Baloyi and two other armed men had trekked from a village in Mozambique carrying powerful hunting rifles into the Umbabat Game...
Time: 12:22     Date: 14.02.2018
Last US News: Family IDs severed head of suspected poacher eaten by lions. NY Post 24 - US News

Baloyi and two other armed men had trekked from a village in Mozambique carrying powerful hunting rifles into the Umbabat Game Reserve in Limpopo Province late on Friday night.

Unusually, the group chose not to hunt by the light of a full moon but instead in darkness and had either been surprised or were stalked by a pride of lions who attacked them in the bush.

Big cat hunter Baloyi was mauled by the very lions he was tracking and his screams for help panicked the two other poachers who fled leaving behind two .456 Winchester rifles.

The rifle is the weapon of choice for big game hunters and can fell rhinos and elephants. Both were loaded and a quantity of ammunition was found nearby that had been abandoned.

Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe of the South African Police Service said that the lions had almost entirely devoured Baloyi’s body and only the head was left to identify the suspect by.

He said the dead mans’ sister-in-law received a phone call from her family in Mozambique telling her that the two other poachers had said he had been eaten by lions in South Africa.

Lieutenant Colonel Ngoepe said:”The incident happened on Friday last week when it was believed the three suspected illegal poachers were attacked by a group of lions in the park.”

“The deceased was killed and eaten by these lions.”

“The other two managed to escape the attack and fled back to their home country, Mozambique, and they then reported their ordeal to the family and the sister-in-law was telephoned.”

“She confirmed she also heard over the radio an unknown person was killed by lions and that anyone who could help with the identification should go to Hoedspruit Police Station.”

“She went to the police station and was taken to the Maphutha Malatji Hospital Mortuary outside Phalaborwa where she identified the deceased as David Baloyi, aged 50.”

“There was only the head to identify him by and it was not in good condition and there was a lot of blood but we have now got a positive identification and we are satisfied it is him.”

“He was from the Masingiri area at Mavudza Village in Mozambique.”

“The police are still investigating the possibility that the deceased might have been a poacher after hunting rifles and ammunition were found in the vicinity of the scene.”

“Subsequent to the gruesome discovery the police have opened an inquest for further investigations and we are asking for anyone with further information to come forward.”

The alarm was raised when the poacher’s screams for help were heard but the lions quickly killed the man and devoured almost all his body before being chased off by gunshots.

The killing comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn in nearby Namibia.

A local worker, who works at a nearby nature reserve, described the area as lion territory.

British wildlife photographer Charlie Lynam, 59, from Liverpool, who now lives close to the Umbabat Game Reserve where the lions attacked Baloyi has spent years photographing the resident lion pride that lives there.

He arrived at the gates shortly after the alarm was raised and the paramedics had raced in.

Lynam was told that the suspected poacher had been killed and that not a lot was left of him — mainly just his head.

Lynam said: “We were told that there were three suspected poachers and that it was thought they had come over the border possibly following a pride of lions that had crossed over from the Kruger into Umbabat.”

“Two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice of big game hunters and is used by those hunting big cats or elephant and rhino in the bush.”

“I cannot say if it was poachers as yet as the matter is under investigation but poachers usually work in groups of three and are usually active on a full moon so they can see what is about them.”

“Unusually, there was no moon and it would have been pitch black so they would not have seen the lions but obviously the lion is a hunter – especially in darkness – and they would have been easy prey.”

“Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously what was left of the dead and eaten man.”

“There were no anti-poaching groups in the area at the time and nobody was working there so although speculation it would seem very possible that you have poetic justice here.”

“Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark is another matter. It is purely speculation on my part but it would seem they either walked into a pride of lions in the darkness or they were stalked and attacked and a man was taken down and eaten.”

He added: “The other two it seems ran off and two .456 big game rifles were found and ammunition. If you go out walking in the bush in the dark then I am afraid you are fair game in the wild and there is no way that anyone can attribute any blame to those lions for this kill.”

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