Underneath the hurricane of stories emanating from the Trump administration, there remain others — although in some cases, Trump has made his mark on those stories and issues too — still, in the face of action, or inaction, from the Trump administration, issues like poaching will continue to march on.
Now, there are reports that in at least one new case in South Africa, the animals have won, you might say. The remains of an unknown handful of individuals suspected to have been intent on killing rhinos were found earlier this week on the Sibuya Game Reserve. The individuals were mauled to death by a pride of reportedly half a dozen lions; there are believed to have been two or three poachers.
The first indication that poachers had made their way onto the reserve in question in the first place came early Monday morning local time, according to a statement shared by reserve owner Nick Fox. At that time, an anti-poaching dog “alerted her handler… that something was amiss.” At the time, the handler passed the alert off as due to routine nocturnal commotion from the lions.
It wasn’t. On Tuesday and Wednesday, human remains — along with the remains of poaching supplies belonging to the dead individuals — were discovered and investigated. The recovered supplies included, according to Fox, a high powered rifle outfitted with a silencer, an ax, wire cutters, and the remains of food supplies meant to last “a number of days.”
The lions responsible for the deaths were tranquilized to allow for initial, on the scene investigation of the remains to proceed. Fox explains that:
‘At this stage it is not clear exactly how many poachers were killed but the Police forensic team continue[s] to investigate.’
Read his full statement, as posted to the reserve’s Facebook page, below.
This incident is the latest in a number of incidents of a similar nature to command the attention of the Western news cycle. For instance, it was within about the last few years that the lion known as Cecil was killed by an American hunter in Zimbabwe. The hunter, a man named Walter Palmer, was never prosecuted for his activities, but the scrutiny of the situation following Cecil’s death actually resulted in the addition of Cecil’s subspecies to the U.S. endangered species list.
In the time since, the Trumps have made their own mark on the issue of the death of big game in Africa, and not just through the widely circulated photos of Eric and Donald Jr. on their own big game hunting excursions on the continent. Donald Trump Jr. has been particularly vocal in his defense of those hunts.
In the face of criticism, earlier this year, the Trump administration opened the door to trophies acquired from big game hunts in certain nations in Africa to be brought into the United States. Previously, thanks to a decision made under the Obama administration, such trophies were made illegal on a country-by-country basis, but under the new rule, allowances will be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis. The decision does not cover rhino trophies, which are what the dead poachers in South Africa were after.
Featured Image via Arterra/UIG via Getty Images