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Nick Fox, the owner of the Sibuya Game Reserve, said in a Facebook post that a field guide discovered human remains Tuesday afternoon in the reserve's lion enclosure. According to The Daily News the lawmen found a head, limbs, other body parts along with three pairs of empty shoes by a lion camp.

Early Monday morning, an anti-poaching dog on patrol started barking and its handler heard "a loud commotion coming from the lions", Fox told Herald LIVE.

"The axe that was found on the scene is what is used to by these poachers to hack off the horn after they kill the animal", he added.

Fox said park rangers immediately contacted South African police and the region's anti-poaching unit.

At this point in the investigation, it's unclear how many poachers were killed by the lions.

The Sibuya reserve is home to rhinos, lions, elephant, buffalo and leopards and is popular with British tourists.

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Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind the Tesla automobile and the SpaceX rocket company, said he would send engineers to help. The group were finally reached by two British rescue divers late on Monday, nine days after they entered the caves.

"We're nearly 100-percent sure this is connected to rhino poaching", Fox said.

Police forensics teams' investigations are ongoing, and the number of poachers killed can not be confirmed, said the statement.

Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender confirmed that body parts had been found near where the lions were situated and that detectives were on the scene trying to work out how many people were eaten. The poachers, who had illegally entered that reserve with a gun and axe to kill those rhinos, were not so lucky.

More than 7,000 rhinos have been killed in South Africa in the last decade, including nine that were shot dead for their horns on Eastern Cape reserves already this year, the Mirror UK reported.

Before the group could locate their illegal prize, the reserve says they ran into a pride of six lions and were all likely mauled to death before being dismembered and eaten by the hungry pack.

Trading of rhino horn is widely banned by global and national authorities, though a court ruling in South Africa last year favor of breeders last year has legalized a domestic market for the horns.