A group of poachers illegally entered a South African reserve and planned to kill rhinos.
A Park employee said that the alleged poachers broke into the reserve at night with 1 for July 2.
The activity was dismissed because this is a time when the lions are usually active, and officials believe this is when the hunters were killed.
"They strayed into a pride of lions - it's a big pride so they didn't have too much time", Sibuya Game Reserve's owner, Nick Fox, told AFP Thursday. She wasn't concerned because it's not unusual to hear the lions overnight, so she brushed off the commotion. They were "armed with, amongst other things, a high powered rifle with a silencer, an ax, wire cutters and had food supplies for a number of days", according to a press release.
"The anti-poaching unit never suspected anything wrong because it was the lions making noise and not the rhinos", Fox said.
"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions".
"It now appears likely that the dog had been alerted by something else out of the ordinary coming from the lions", the Facebook post said.
"There is so little left that they don't know exactly how many people were killed, we suspect three because we found three sets of shoes and three sets of gloves".
The lions were shot with tranquilizer darts to protect reserve employees and police who were involved in the recovery effort on Wednesday.
"Although we will continue to be extremely vigilant we remain positive that this incident will not necessitate any changes to the status quo", he said.
Fox said he alerted the Indalo Anti-Poaching Cluster and the local police, which are now combing the area for clues.