A pair of white lions was found dead at a farm in the South African province of Limpopo.
Wildlife At Risk, a local animal conservation nonprofit, first posted on Facebook graphic photos of the two animals, which were being held in captivity.
After killing the two lions, the poachers beheaded them and chopped off their paws.
Police have reportedly launched an investigation into the shocking incident, according to WAR. They followed the suspects’ tracks up to the Lephalale Groblersbrug road.
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Illegal hunting of rare animals, such as white rhinos, is common in South Africa. However, the extinction risk for lions is greater than that of rhinos, according to Global White Lion Protection Trust.
"We are losing five lions a day to poaching, conflict, hunting and human encroachment. If we don't secure lions, elephants and rhinos, conservation in Africa will be over. Unless something changes dramatically, we have 10-15 years to do it,” says award-winning conservationist and filmmaker Beverly Joubert.
There are around 8,000 lions bred in captivity in South Africa. They are mostly used for cub-petting in zoos before being sold to hunting reserves.