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An elephant has trampled a suspected poacher to death in South Africa's famed Kruger National Park, a spokesman said last Friday. The mangled body was discovered last Thursday during an intelligence operation aimed at preventing poaching, Kruger spokesman Isaac Phaahla told AFP.

But before any animals were harmed, an elephant stomped one poacher to death while the others fled, Phaahla said.

"Initial investigations suspect that the deceased was killed by an elephant and left behind by his accomplices," he added.

The elephant spared the man's cell phone, which rangers have turned over to police to aid their efforts to track down his fellow poachers, he said.

Kruger has been hard-hit by poaching, particularly of rhinos. The park reported in February that its rhino population had plunged by 70 percent over the previous decade, to just under 4,000.

The park has succeeded in cracking down on wildlife crimes over the last two years, thanks to new technology and increased patrols that have helped apprehend suspects before they kill, Phaahla said.

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