Rhino poacher flees into elephant herd and dies in South African park

Family of elephants, photo: Larry Li via Unsplash
Family of elephants, photo: Larry Li via Unsplash

Elephants trampled a suspected rhino poacher to death in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Isaac Phaahla, spokesperson for South African National Parks, said Monday.

Rangers who were on a routine patrol during the weekend spotted three poachers. The men tried to flee, and one ran into an elephant herd. The elephants were breeding. The rangers later discovered a “badly trampled” man who had died from his injuries.

Another man was also attacked but managed to escape. The third man was in custody. The rangers recovered a rifle and an axe, Phaahla said.

Poachers, who are part of a global trafficking gang, shoot rhinos and chop off their horns to be sold in Asia, where most demand for rhino horns comes from.

South Africa is home to about 80 percent of the world’s rhino population. Most of the rhino killings happen in Kruger. In 2020, 394 rhinos were killed, according to government statistics.

Attacks on rhinos happen almost 40 times a day, Phaahla told AFP.

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