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Karma has come full circle for a big cat poacher in South Africa.

While hunting a pride of lions at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve (likely as part of a group), the unidentified man was attacked and eaten by the big cats he sought to kill. The Daily Mail reports that the hunter was heard screaming for help as he was mauled, but his body had been mostly devoured by the time police arrived.

Credit: Charlie Lynham

“The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest,” said a local worker from a nearby nature reserve. “A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten.”

At first, the police thought the dead man was a tractor driver who had worked at the game reserve.  After inspecting the scene further, they realized that he was instead a poacher. The fact that a hunting rifle was found close to his blood-drenched body tipped them off. Because the man was carrying no documents, his name is unknown.

Credit: Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve

Said Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe:

“The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene.”

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Every year in Africa, lions kill up to 250 people in Africa. With a male weighing 190 kg and a female tipping the scales at 130 kg, they are deadly beasts to be feared. Poachers will take the risk, however, as their bones are highly prized in the Far East. One lion skeleton can be sold for upwards of £7,000 (or $9,681) and the skin £3,000 (or $4,149). Teeth can fetch as much as £500 (or $691).

Credit: Pixabay

Shortly after the alarm was raised, Charlie Lynham, 59, arrived at the scene. The British wildlife photographer regularly visits the reserve and lives close by. Lynham believes the poacher may have been killed in a neighboring reserve or inside Ingwelala, but is unsure.

“It turns out it was not the resident pride that lives here responsible as they were on a buffalo kill at the time of the incident but a pride perhaps come over from the Kruger (National Park),” said Lynham. “It happened on the border of the Umbabat Game Reserve after dark and may have been on their reserve.”

“Two .456 big game rifles and ammunition were found at the scene and that is the weapon of choice used by those hunting big game – especially elephant and rhino in the bush,” he added. “I cannot say if it was poachers as the matter is under investigation but that is their weapon of choice and they usually work in groups of three and work under cover of darkness. Two sets of footprints have been found running away and obviously the dead and eaten man.”

Credit: Pixabay

Perhaps the British wildlife photographer spoke for many when he asserted:

“It would seem very possible that you have poetic justice here. Lions are not a particular danger in daylight but after dark, then that 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. The other two it seems ran off and two .456 big game rifles were found and ammunition,” said Lynham.

“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.”

h/t The Daily Mail