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Poachers shift focus to hunting lions for muti
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Poachers shift focus to hunting lions for muti
News - Date: 05 February 2017

Written by: Isabel Venter

Lions seem to have moved up on the list of poachers' choice of animals to kill and slaughter brutally.

Since the start of the year, several reports have been received of lions being found dead in the Tzaneen, Hoedspruit, Mara and Polokwane areas. The most recent killing was reported on Tuesday at Ingogo Safaris' Game Lodge near Alldays, where a white lion was found dead with its head and paws cut off.

The lion was discovered on Tuesday morning. The suspects appear to have been interrupted while attempting to remove the lion’s hide. The suspect(s) apparently threw poisoned chicken meat into an enclosure where the lion was kept along with some other lions. Two other lions were also incapacitated by the effects of the poison but managed to survive. They were later treated by a veterinarian.

According to official reports, nine lions were reported killed in recent months, all found with body parts that had been cut off. Shortly before the incident at Ingogo, three lions were killed for their body parts on the farm Turffontein near The Ranch just outside of Polokwane on Saturday, 28 January. In this case, the lions had also been poisoned. Two of the lions, both males, had had their heads and paws cut off. The third, a female, had not been cut up.

Three male lions belonging to the Tzaneen Lion and Predator Park situated in the Letaba River Lodge were killed on 10 January. Park owner Mr André de Lange told the Bulletin newspaper in Tzaneen at the time that it was the second time that the park’s lions had been targeted. In the first incident, park employees had caught a group of poachers after they had poisoned and mutilated two white lions. He told the newspaper that the caught poachers had provided information that proved that the killing [of lions] was for muti purposes. “The body parts [that are removed by the poachers] are commissioned from medicine men and sangomas in Mozambique,” De Lange had said.

According to the Limpopo police’s head of communications, Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, the suspect(s) in all the reported cases are still at large. Cases of unlawful hunting or hunting of specially protected animals without a permit have been opened and are being investigated.


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