Lions kill suspected rhino poachers in South Africa

"Clearly the poachers had walked into a pride of six lions and some, if not all had been killed", Fox said.

A Park employee said that the alleged poachers broke into the reserve at night with 1 for July 2.

At this point in the investigation, it's unclear how many poachers were killed by the lions.

But the reserve's anti-poaching unit later noticed human remains near the lions Tuesday.

At least three men made their way onto the Sibuya Game Reserve in the early hours of the morning on Monday. At the same time, the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions, which she then suspected was the reasoning behind why the dog got her attention to begin with. He also said that it was found three pairs of shoes, and the lions had to inject a tranquilizer to pick up human remains.

Previous reports suggested that a lone poacher had been attacked, but further investigation of the awful scene suggested at least two people were devoured by the lions. They were "armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an ax, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days", according to a press release.

A May 2018 "60 Minutes" report revealed that they are being slaughtered at the shocking rate of three a day at the hands of poachers like the group killed in Sibuya. Fox said the lions' behavior appeared no different than ever and that the lions "view a game-viewing vehicle containing people as something entirely different from individuals who are walking on the ground". Reserve staff immediately called the Association of Eastern Cape Game Reserves Anti-Poaching Cluster and the police.

"I think we had a stroke of luck here that the lions got to them before they got to the rhinos", Fox told AFP.

The lions were shot with tranquilizer darts to protect reserve employees and police who were involved in the recovery effort on Wednesday.

After ensuring the lions were not a threat to tourists, Fox said there will not be any changes to "the status quo of our lions". According to stats from the South African government, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa a year ago.