Lions kill suspected rhino poachers in South Africa

There are six lions in the pride, which act as "watch-dogs" to help protect the resident rhinos from poachers.

In 2016, poachers hacked off the horns and killed three rhinos at the Sibuya Game Reserve.

At the moment it is unknown exactly how many people were killed.

Men entered the Sibuya Game Reserve on the armed southeast coast with a high powered rifle and an ax in the early hours of Monday and they were evacuated the following day.60-year-old reserve owner Nick Fox told AFP, "They went astray in the pride of lions - it's a great pride, so they did not have much time".

The poachers are believed to have intruded into the lion's enclosure of the Sibuya Game Reserve, on Sunday night or early Monday morning hence, devoured by the lions. At the same time, the handler heard a loud commotion coming from the lions, which she then suspected was the reasoning behind why the dog got her attention to begin with.

They later learned the noise was likely the poachers being killed by lions.

The suspected poachers entered the park with "all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns", said Fox. Fox said he's arranged for the reserve vet to "dart the entire pride of lions" so police, forensics teams and the anti-poaching unit may search the area for clues.

Mr Fox said: "The lions may have eaten more of them it is hard to tell as the area is very thick with bush and you can not be sure what they have taken off to feed on elsewhere".

"Although we will continue to be extremely vigilant we remain positive that this incident will not necessitate any changes to the status quo", he said.

Captain Govender said: "We do not know identities but firearms have been taken by the police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to see if they have been used in poaching before". More than 1,000 rhinos were poached in 2017, according to figures from the environment ministry.

Announcement of Trump Supreme Court choice nears