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  1. ITV Report

Suspected rhino poacher killed by elephant and eaten by pride of lions in South Africa

The suspected poacher was devoured by a pride of lions. Credit: AP

A suspected rhino poacher has been killed by an elephant and then eaten by a pride of lions, according to officials at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

The hunter's family were reportedly informed of his death by his accomplices, who told them the man had been killed by an elephant in one of Africa's largest game reserves.

A search party was launched and his remains were found by park officials on Thursday.

Kruger National Park said they found evidence the man had been eaten by a pride of lions.

The man's alleged accomplices said he was killed by an elephant. Credit: AP

"Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants," a statement from the park said.

"Skukuza police were notified immediately and are currently busy with further investigations into the incident."

Four of the man's alleged accomplices were arrested and are due to appear in court.

The park's managing executive Glenn Philips extended condolences to the man's family and commended the search party.

He added: “Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that.

Kruger National Park said the group had been poaching a rhino when the suspected poacher was killed. Credit: AP

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

Kruger National Park is home to hundreds of species of animals, including buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino.

The park is regularly targeted by poachers and in 2018 there were 421 rhino poaching incidents in Kruger, according to figures from South Africa's environment agency.

The animals are sought after for their horns, which are sold on the Asian black market.