Lioness in natural landscape
Credit: Jonas Stenqvist/Getty Images

A suspected rhino poacher entered Kruger National Park in South Africa last week, and was then attacked and killed by an elephant, and then eaten by lions, according to the South African National Parks agency.

The poacher, along with three other men, entered the park last Monday, Buzzfeed News reported. The men were suddenly attacked by an elephant, and the one suspect was killed. The men then carried their dead companion's body to the side of the road, where they had reportedly hoped a passerby would find it. They then left, and called the man's family and alerted police.

Park officials formed a search party to find the man's remains, however, only a skull was found.

"Entering Kruger National Park illegally and on foot is not wise, it holds many dangers and this incident is evidence of that," Glenn Phillips, managing executive of Kruger National Park, said in a statement. "It is very sad to see the daughters of the deceased mourning the loss of their father, and worse still, only being able to recover very little of his remains."

The remaining three suspects, Buzzfeed News reported, were arrested and face charges of possession of firearms and ammunition without a license, conspiracy to poach, and trespassing.

The man killed by lions could have entered the park in an attempt to capture and kill a rhino for its horn. According to The New York Times rhino horns are worth about $9,000 per pound in Asia.

"It's one of the most expensive wildlife products on the illegal market and that's why these poachers go after it," Michael Slattery, founder of the Texas Christian University Rhino Initiative, told The New York Times. "The current prices for a rhino horn are anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 a kilogram. They are seeing dollar signs. It is more expensive than gold and cocaine, so the demand is driving these poachers."