I guess they got what they deserve. At least three hunters were believed to have been devoured by the predators with one head being recovered at the scene along with a number of bloodied body parts and limbs. Staff discovered the bloody remnants at the Sibuya Game Reserve near Kenton-on-Sea in Eastern Province, South Africa, and called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers. When none were found and the area was declared safe a vet tranquillised the six lions in the pride so that police and staff could go inside and recover the remains of the mauled poachers. Owner Nick Fox, 60, said: “We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more. RELATED ARTICLES Dolphin slaughter: Horror of dolphins illegally killed for 'medicine' Animal News: British soldiers in Africa helping protect elephants Jamie Pyatt News Limited The remains of the bodies were found in the evening, staff waited until daylight to investigate “They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here. “But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal. “Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner”. The game reserve is one of the most popular in the Eastern Cape with British tourists and is home to the Big Five of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and is set in 30 square miles. Jamie Pyatt News Limited Three rhinos were killed by poachers in 2016 We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three Nick Fox In 2016 the reserve lost three rhinos when poachers got into the park and shot them dead and cut off their horns but this time the poachers ended up being the prey and a dinner for the lions. Owner Nick said: “The lions may have eaten more of them it is difficult to tell as the area is very thick with bush and you cannot be sure what they have taken off to feed on elsewhere. “The best estimate we have so far is that three of the gang were eaten. “They were armed with high powered rifles with silencers and an axe for the horns and wire cutters and side arms and they had enough food with them to last for many days. “They were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns." Jamie Pyatt News Limited The poachers were HEAVILY armed with rifles The remains of the bodies were found as darkness fell on 3 July but staff had to wait until daylight on 4 July when the area could be declared safe to go in and recover what was left Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed that the remains had been found in the lion camp and that detectives were on the scene trying to work out how many were eaten. 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”. This year already nine rhinos - all of which were shot with a high-calibre hunting rifle - have been killed by poachers on Eastern Cape reserves and it is hoped this is the gang responsible. In February a poacher hunting lions in the Umbabat Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park was killed by lions and was identified by his sister in law from all that remained his head.