Poachers poison 16 lions, hack off faces and paws to sell claws and teeth for black magic potions
Two of the lionesses killed were pregnant with a total of six cubs that were due to be born the next day.
The owner of a 152-acre park, which was constructed to improve the number of endangered animals, has been left devastated after poachers broke in, poisoned and killed 16 lions, and hacked off their faces and paws.
Father-of-two Gert Blom, 51, the owner of the Predator Rock Bush Lodge in Rustenberg, South Africa, sensed something was wrong when he woke up last week and did not hear his lion pride roaring as usual, according to the Daily Mail.
When he went to check on them, his worst fears were confirmed. Two of his lions and six of his lionesses, two of whom were pregnant and due to give the birth the next day, as well as two young cubs, had been butchered.
"They had hacked off 32 paws for the claws and eight of their snouts for their teeth after killing them with poisoned chicken which is a really agonizing death for the lions," he revealed. "It is cruelty that is beyond belief and an absolutely terrible sight to behold when you see magnificent predators lying there covered in flies minus their faces and their paws."
The animals had been poisoned with chicken carcasses laced with Aldicard, a poison more commonly known as 'Two-Step' that paralyzes the respiratory system and is often used in the country to poison guard dogs.
Two of the lionesses killed were pregnant with a total of six cubs that were due to be born the next day. None of the cubs survived.
Furthermore, two more cubs which had been born just the day before the horrific killings were also found dead. The suspicion is that they probably died after drinking poisoned milk from their mother.
"With the eight dead cubs – six unborn and the two that were almost certainly poisoned from their mother's milk – that means the poachers effectively killed 16 lions," Blom said. "Two of the lionesses were about to give birth which makes this all the more tragic."
There was one small ray of light in the form of a cub named Yoda, who had miraculously survived the massacre. He is now being bottle-fed and is expected to survive.
Blom said the poachers had done this just for the animal's teeth and claws, which is used by traditional witch doctors to make potions called 'muti' that many believe gives powers to ward off evil spirits.
The 51-year-old said footprints had led them to deduce there were four poachers and has asked anyone with information to come forward to the police.