Poaching is a serious problem around the world; some of the world’s most intriguing species have seen their numbers decrease sharply due to unscrupulous, illegal hunting practices. But it is beginning to seem like the animal kingdom is fighting back against poachers — at least some of the time.
Earlier this year, it was reported that an alleged big cat poacher went out of business — after a group of lions turned the owner of the illegal hunting operation into a snack.
According to the BBC report, police investigating the suspected poacher’s death revealed that a pride of African Lions near the Kruger National Park in South Africa had killed and eaten the missing man.
The pride didn’t leave much behind either; only the man’s head and a few other bodily segments remained. Police are still working to identify the victim. Initially, it was suspected that the body was that of a missing tractor-trailer driver. But after the driver was found alive, police began looking into the possibility of poaching gone awry.
Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe was quoted as stating, “It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions.”
The old saying, “You get what you give,” certainly comes to mind, doesn’t it?
Lion populations are dropping
Lions, often revered as some of the greatest hunters in the world, are considered “vulnerable” by the World Wildlife Fund. They say that only about 20,000 of these beautiful big cats remain. Over the last three generations, they estimate that African lion numbers have dropped by a staggering 40 percent.
Poaching is one of many factors driving their decline. The body parts of lions are often used in traditional medicine, and their bones are often used as a substitute for the more highly prized tiger bones. Whatever the purpose, poaching is a big problem for many animals.
While poaching is not the only problem facing African lions, it is something that they share in common with many other animals. Elephants are a prime example.
Other animals fight back against poaching, too
It may not be that surprising that one man would fall prey to an entire pride of lions; they are excellent hunters after all. In fact, lions are considered the top predators in their neck of the woods.
But it turns out that predatory animals aren’t the only ones capable of turning the tables on would-be poachers. Even elephants are taking a stand against illegal hunters.
Elephants are highly intelligent beings, and reports now indicate that these gentle giants have adopted “guerrilla warfare” tactics to evade hunters. According to recent research, elephants have actually changed their schedules in order to better escape poaching efforts. While most poachers go out looking for their prey during daylight hours, elephants have switched over to a more nocturnal lifestyle.
In this way, they are able to avoid becoming targets. As the largest land mammals, going unseen is surely a challenging task, yet the majestic elephant manages to pull it off. [Related: Read more stories about the animals we share our planet with at Ecology.news]
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