(Graphic Content) – Poachers kill lions and crocodiles

Two lions, one male and one female, died after they were poisoned along with three other lions last week Monday on the farm of Mr and Ms Arthur and Sonja Creighton, just outside of Groblersdal.

Later, on the same day, another two lions were killed at Mbidi Lodge on the N11 outside of Groblersdal.

In the last few days 15 crocodiles were also poisoned in the Letsitele area, with their heads and feet cut off.

According to w/o Christo Schoeman from the stock theft unit in Marble Hall, they suspect that two suspects threw meat with poison over the fences where the lions were kept in camps on the Creighton’s farm on Monday morning at 01:00.

After which the double fences of the cages were cut open. Two security guards from WIPS (Wildlife Investigation and Protection Services) that were on duty at the time, discovered the two suspects in the cage where they were busy dragging the female lion by the paw with an electric cable they tied around her.

The guards made alarm, but unfortunately the men were able to flee from the scene.

“DNA tests will be done to confirm which type of poison was used, we suspect that it might have been Temik,” says w/o Schoeman.

Two of the five lions that were poisoned on the Creighton’s farm, are dead.

“The veterinarian was contacted immediately. He was able to save three of the lions. Our lions are like children to us, we took care of them since they were cubs. We can’t believe that someone is so cruel to have killed our lions like this. They must’ve been in so much pain,” says Me Creighton.

The Creighton’s say that they already installed more lighting and employed even more guards to watch over their lions.

The same morning at 03:00, three suspects reaped two white lions, one male and one female known as Tau and Tora on Mbidi Lodge.

The electrical fence around the lion camps where Tau and Tora were, was disabled by an electrical short. The heads and paws of both white lions were chopped off and suspected to be used for muti.

“We had Tau and Tora since they were cubs, we took care of them. It is heart-breaking to see what they had done to our beloved lions,” said Mr Reghardt Schaeffer, Mbidi Lodge’s general manager.

Mbidi Lodge assured the that they will take the necessary steps to secure and protect the rest of the lions on the farm.

In May a male lion on a farm near Groblersdal was poisoned and another two lionesses were poisoned a month ago on the Stoffberg road outside of Groblersdal. In both these incidents the lions’s heads and feet were removed.

Captain Hennie Engelbrecht, head of the stock theft unit in Marble Hall said that there was another incident on September 17 and that the same place that were targeted in May was struck where suspects tried to poison lions, but luckily failed in their attempt.

“One of three sets of footprints were found on Mbidi Lodge which corresponds to the set of footprints found at the farm on the Stoffberg road where the slaughter took place a month ago.”

Police warn that it is the work of a syndicate.

• In December in Rustenburg there were two male lions killed with their heads and paws removed.

• Poachers struck at Stockpoort outside Lephalale in May and two white lionesses were poisoned and stripped of body parts.

• A week later, they attacked in Bela-Bela and a male lion and female were beheaded.

• The fourth incident was outside Groblersdal in May where a lion was harvested.

• Three Mozambicans were soon caught in Giyani with two white lion heads and eight white lion paws in their possession.

• On 19 June, another three suspects were taken into custody for possession of four white lion paws, a white lion head and tail.

• Last week another two lions, both male, were poisoned in the Mookgopong area, only one of which’s heads were removed. A tiger and her cub was also poisoned alongside the two lions who also died in the Mookgopong area.

• In the last 14 days, 15 crocodiles were poisoned in the Letsitele area with their heads and feet cut off.

• Captain Engelbrecht asked all lion breeders to be considerate and to take the necessary precautions. Any person with information can contact the stock theft unit in Marble Hall at 071 672 8589 or 079 875 8048

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