A man suspected of being a poacher was killed inside Kruger National Park in South Africa last week after coming face-to-face with an angry Cape buffalo. The unnamed 35-year-old, along with two companions, entered the famous park after dark where they managed to stumble across the fearsome beast. While the other two men managed to escape without injury, their friend was trampled to death.
Weighing in excess of 1500 pounds, and standing over a meter in height at the shoulder, the Cape buffalo is well known for its foul disposition. That combination of size and temperament can make them extremely dangerous when startled or threatened, and more than 200 human deaths are attributed to the species each year. That number makes them one of the most dangerous creatures in all of Africa, where they are considered to be amongst the “Big 5″ of safari animals.
What exactly the three men were doing inside the national park after dark is unclear, although officials believe they were there to poach animals of some kind. Poaching has become a major problem for South Africa, where rhinos are being killed at a record pace in order to harvest their horns. Prized for their use in traditional medicines in Asia, those horns are then sold on the black market for as much as $100,000.
Ivory poaching is also a significant problem across the continent, where elephants are rapidly disappearing as well. Officials in Cameroon recently announced that more than 200 of the creatures have already been killed in that country this year alone.
[Photo credit: Ikiwaner via Wikimedia]