South African Police Retrieve Head Of Rhino Poacher Killed By Elephant

Police have retrieved a skull believed to belong to the poacher who was killed by an elephant after breaking into a national park in South Africa, last week, it has been announced.

In a statement released by the South African Police Service, confirmed they had found his dismembered head and clothing.

It read: "A human skull found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) is believed to be that of a man reportedly killed by an elephant while poaching with his accomplices.

"The police received information that some men had gone poaching in the KNP on 01 April 2019, when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them."

Three other men, who are understood to have been the man's accomplices, have since been arrested and are in police custody.

According to reports at the time of the incident, the men were trying to hunt an endangered rhino.

The police statement continued: "Once outside, they reportedly informed a relative of the dead man about their ordeal and police were alerted regarding the incident. A search operation was launched by police and Rangers in the mentioned area, whereupon the human skull and pieces of clothing were found.

"Police launched a joint intelligence driven operation in search of the dead poacher's accomplices, resulting in the arrest of three men aged between 26 and 35, within KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort precincts. During the operation, two .375 hunting rifles and ammunition were seized.

"The suspects appeared yesterday, 05 April 2019, at the Komatipoort Magistrate's Court facing charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, conspiracy to poach as well as trespassing.

"Upon their appearance, the court remanded them in custody and will reappear at the same court on 12 April 2019, pending a formal bail application.

"The incident, which involved other men who are now thought to be in police custody, occurred in South Africa's Kruger National Park."

An elephant in South Africa. Credit: PA
An elephant in South Africa. Credit: PA

After learning about the elephant attack, rangers from the park set off immediately to try to find the man. His body was in an area of the park called Crocodile Bridge.

Several days after the incident, rangers managed to find his body but realised it had been eaten by a pride of lions while lying in the reserve.

Kruger National Park managing executive Glenn Phillips said: "Entering the Kruger illegally and on foot is not wise as it holds very many dangers and this incident is clear evidence of that.

"It was very sad to see the daughters of the deceased man mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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