After jumping into a crocodile-filled lake at a South Africa nature reserve, a suspected poacher is missing after attempting to “avert” potential arrest.
The unnamed man reportedly entered Lake St Lucia on Friday, November 12, after exchanging gunshots with rangers working in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, according to Insider.
As they were patrolling, the field rangers heard gunshots being fired at around 9.30 a.m. local time and investigated. They saw two boats on the bank of the lake and monitored the area nearby as the team believed the boats belonged to poachers operating in the area. They soon discovered four suspected poachers heading towards the boats, with one carrying a gun.
Field rangers told the suspects to surrender, but instead, they were shot at. The rangers returned fire and moved towards the area the group had been.
“The suspected poachers ran in different directions during the shoot-out,” a statement from iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said.
“Field Rangers further observed blood in the water, which made them suspect that one poacher, probably the one with a gun, had been shot. He might have attempted to avert arrest by jumping into the water,” the statement continued.
The head of corporate affairs at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Musa Mntambo, told Newsweek that the suspected poacher is still missing. “We know that the lake has crocodiles, so if he did not manage to get out during the gunfire, we are concerned about his safety,” Mntambo said.
The Lake St Lucia estuarine system is home to around 1,000 Nile crocodiles. This species is the most deadly of all crocodilians, accounting for hundreds of human deaths every year.
The three other suspected poachers are also still at large, Mntambo said. No further updates have been made.