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.
He 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 gang had chosen not to hunt by the light of the full moon but instead in darkness and were either 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 kill rhinos and elephants and 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 the 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.
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