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08 July 2018, 07:30 | Justin Tyler
Police forensics officers were on the scene conducting tests on the remains of the victims
An "anti-poaching dog" alerted her handler at about 4:30 a.m. Monday.
On Tuesday afternoon, a field guide found a skull in the area around the lions. Everything was completely gone, said Fox. In 2016, poachers successfully killed three of the reserve's rhinos and made off with their severed horns.
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed that the remains had been found in the lion camp and explained how detectives are now trying to figure out exactly how many have been injured at this time, as it may be more than the three found so far. They took the rifle to check if it was used in other poaching crimes.
Due to its prominence and collection of animals, the park has faced multiple break-ins by poachers in recent years. More cameras were installed to monitor the rhinos. Handlers use trained dogs as an early warning and honing beacons to track the whereabouts of their rhinos daily.
According to its website, Sibuya Game Reserve is located on the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape, approximately 130 kms from Port Elizabeth or East London. The rhino horn, in particular, is believed to have healing and aphrodisiac qualities in parts of Vietnam, China and elsewhere. Still, in 2017 alone, more than 1,000 adult rhinos were slaughtered. In addition, the horns are now seen as a status symbol, according to Save the Rhino, a United Kingdom -based conservation charity.
The Eastern Cape reserve is a camping and safari site for tourists.
He added, however, that the clothing strewn around the scene points to there being at least three. It is a growing problem: Over 7,000 rhinoceros have been killed in the last decade, after reaching a low of just 13 poached in 2007.
According to Ellis, poachers are members of well-organized criminal networks driven by a demand from the Asian market. "On a quick inspection around the site, once I saw human remains, I couldn't let anyone get out of the vehicles even if they were armed".
Fox said reserve staff and guests never go near the lions unless the people are in big trucks.
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