Mpumalanga police and rangers have recovered a human skull belonging to an alleged poacher killed by an elephant in the Kruger National Park (KNP).
Meanwhile, his three accomplices he was allegedly poaching with in the park have also been arrested.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said they received information that a number of men had gone poaching in the KNP on April 1, when suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them.
“The deceased accomplices claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passers-by could find it the following morning. They then vanished from the park.
“Once outside the park, they reportedly informed a relative of the deceased about their ordeal and police were alerted regarding the incident. A search operation was launched by police and rangers in the mentioned area, whereupon the human skull and pieces of clothing were found.
“Subsequent to that, police launched a joint intelligence driven operation in search of the dead poacher’s accomplices, resulting in the arrest of three men aged between 26 and 35, within KaMhlushwa and Komatipoort precincts. During the operation, two .375 hunting rifles and ammunition were seized,” said Hlathi.
The suspects appeared in the Komatipoort Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence, conspiracy to poach as well as trespassing.
The three will remain in custody until their next appearance in the same court on April 12, pending a formal bail application.
Hlathi said an inquest was opened in connection with the dead alleged poacher.