Rhino Poacher Trampled To Death By An Elephant And Then Eaten By Lions, Because Karma Is Real

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Poachers, WATCH OUT. First there was that pride of lions who killed a bunch of poachers last year. And now an elephant and another pride of lions in South Africa have joined in on the anti-poacher duties.

A rhino poacher in Kruger National Park in South Africa was trampled to death by an elephant. Then his remains were eaten by a pride of lions. All that was left of the man at the end? A skull and a pair of pants.

The man was hunting for rhinoceroses illegally with four other poachers; those four are now in police custody.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” park manager Glenn Phillips said in a statement through South African National Parks.

It’s a tragic story, but honestly, it also looks a lot like karma. People on social media are straight-up rejoicing that justice was served.

Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve. It’s in northeastern South Africa, and it borders Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The park offers plenty of activities for wildlife lovers, from guided safaris to hotel stays.

Unfortunately, the park also draws the attention of poachers in search of rhino horns. South Africa is home to over 80% of the world’s rhinos, per the New York Times. In 2017 alone, 504 rhinos were successfully poached in the park, reported the Daily Maverick.

Park rangers arrest hundreds of poachers each year, but they can’t catch everyone.

This month, some of the park’s OTHER wildlife stepped up to the plate to protect the rhinos from poachers. Namely, an elephant and a pride of lions.

According to local reports, a group of poachers entered the national park in search of a rhino to poach. The group was suddenly trampled by an elephant, and one man was killed.

The other men carried the man’s body to a road so that he’d be discovered by passersby in the morning, and they called one of his relatives to let them know what happened. Then they notified the police, who dispatched Kruger National Park rangers to locate the body.

But when rangers did finally find the man’s remains, all they found was a skull and a pair of pants. The man had been devoured by a pride of lions.

Four other men from the group were later arrested. The police seized guns and ammunition from the poachers.

Once this news made it onto Twitter, people around the world couldn’t help but rejoice at the vigilante justice served by the elephant and lions. Poaching is wrong — the world is in danger of losing several rhino populations because of poachers. Equally at fault, though, are those who trade in the industry. Rhino horn is worth about $8,000 per pound on the black market.

As this story demonstrates, poaching is hardly worth the risks, even for the poachers themselves. Park officials are using this incident to warn others about the dangers of sneaking into the park on foot.

“Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that,” Glenn Phillips, the managing executive of the park, said in a statement.

He added, “It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains.”

The four arrested men are now in police custody.

This incident isn’t the first time that rhino poachers have been served immediate karma by other wildlife.


Last July, a group of poachers was killed by a pride of six lions at the Sibuya Game Reserve, also in South Africa. Park staff found human remains near the cats; at least three poachers were killed.

The owner of the reserve, Nick Fox, was openly thankful to the lions for what they did.

“I just thank my lions,” he told BuzzFeed News at the time. “They saved our rhinos from another onslaught.”