Man mauled to death by lions 'might have been a poacher'

Polokwane – Limpopo police believe the man who was mauled to death by lions near Hoedspruit, outside Phalaborwa over the weekend, might have been a poacher.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe previously said the man was a 46-year-old employee of the private nature reserve where the incident occurred. However that information has now been corrected. 

Police initially said an employee was attacked after a tractor he had been driving became stuck and he ended up walking for a few metres back to the compound. However, the employee has since been found.

After further investigation, police found a hunting rifle in the vicinity of the attack, which has led them to believe that the man who who was killed might have been a poacher instead.

Ngoepe said police in Hoedspruit have subsequently opened an inquest docket for further investigation.

He appealed for anyone who can assist with the identification of the man to contact Hoedspruit police.

"The process of identifying the deceased has already commenced and it might be made possible by the fact that his head is amongst the remains that were found at the scene," Ngoepe said

Investigations were continuing.