South Africa: death of suspected poacher trampled by elephants

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JOHANNESBURG | A suspected poacher died over the weekend, after being trampled by a herd of elephants as he tried to flee rangers with two accomplices, in the famous Kruger Park in South Africa, we learned Monday from of the Department of Parks (SanPark).

The body of a “trampled” man was discovered on Sunday, SanPark spokesman Isaac Phaahla told AFP.

On Saturday, national park rangers spotted men suspected of being poachers while on patrol and set off in pursuit.

“The person killed and his accomplices were fleeing the rangers when they encountered a herd of elephants in the breeding season,” park authorities said in a statement.

In their escape, they “dropped an ax and a bag containing provisions,” adds SanPark. According to Mr. Phaahla, these men were likely hunting rhinos in the protected natural park.

The rangers managed to arrest a member of the trio. The third suspect, still wanted, was reportedly injured in the eye. A rifle was also found. Police opened an investigation.

South Africa, home to nearly 80% of the planet’s rhino population, has seen the number of specimens killed decline for the sixth year in a row.

But poachers, responding to the strong demand for rhino horns in Asia, where they are used for their alleged virtues, in traditional medicine or as aphrodisiacs, continue their raids and attacks.