Kruger Park rangers help find remains of poacher killed by elephant

File photo: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

File photo: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

All that remained of the man was his skull and a pair of pants.

Kruger National Park (KNP) rangers, assisted by the Komatipoort and Skukuza SAPS, helped the family of a suspected poacher to find closure by recovering his remains in the Crocodile bridge section on Thursday, reports the Lowvelder.

According to SANPARKS spokesman Ike Phaahla, the family of the deceased were called by his accomplices, who notified them that their relative had been killed by an elephant while they were in the KNP to poach rhino on Tuesday evening.

The family then called Skukuza regional ranger Don English, who, after assuring the family that he would do everything possible to recover the remains and bring them closure, arranged a search party.

Rangers on foot, accompanied by members of the KNP Airwing, flew over the area that was described by the family, but due to failing light they could not locate the body.

The team resumed the search on Thursday morning, with further information provided by four of the deceased’s alleged accomplices, who were arrested during the previous evening by the Komatipoort SAPS.

During this search, which was boosted with a further compliment of field rangers, the remains of a body was discovered.

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. Skukuza police were notified immediately and undertook further investigations into the incident.

Reacting to the incident, the managing executive of the KNP, Glenn Phillips, commended those who formed part of the search party for helping the family find closure. He extended his condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

“Entering the Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise. It holds many dangers, and this incident is evidence of that. It is very sad to see the daughters of the diseased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”

The four arrested individuals remained in custody and were to appear in court in due course.

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