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The man's mangled body was discovered on Thursday (21 October) at Kruger National Park (KNP) during an intelligence operation aimed at tackling poaching.
The elephant didn't damage the man's mobile phone though, which has been handed over to police in a bid to track down his accomplices.
Park spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said: "Initial investigations suspect that the deceased was killed by an elephant and left behind by his accomplices."
He added: "No animal was killed in the immediate vicinity.
"KNP management continues to warn poachers that it is dangerous to hunt illegally in the KNP.
"Criminals stand to lose their lives and freedom."
Indeed, Isaac said that last year another suspected poacher was eaten by lions, and only his skull was found.
The vast park is hugely popular with tourists, but last year during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, lions exploited the peace and quiet by laying out on the roads.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp.- Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 15, 2020
:camera_with_flash:Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA
Isaac told CBS News: "They are nocturnal animals and it is not unusual for them to sleep during the day, what is unusual is the utilisation of the tarred road because normally if there is traffic, they would not be using the tarred road."
Photos of the dozing animals were uploaded by the park's social media team after being snapped by Section Ranger Richard Sowry.
If you have been wondering what the animals have been getting up to since the #SALockdown, watch this short video taken on the road towards the Paul Kruger Gate. :movie_camera: by Don English. pic.twitter.com/FNQkFNiTAt- Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) April 14, 2020
Richard told BBC News that he was desperate to get closer to the lions however knew they would scamper off if they saw him approaching.
"Lions are used to people in vehicles," he said. "All animals have much more of an instinctive fear of people on foot, so if I had walked up they would never have allowed me to get so close."
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