Poachers killed 2 lions who were recently freed from the circus

In 2016, more than 30 lions were freed from circuses and flown to a wildlife refuge in South Africa, CBS News reports.

The Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary recently announced that two lions named Liso and José were killed when poachers sneaked past armed guards.

They were found with their heads, tails, paws and skins were missing, according to the BBC.

Authorities have not publicly announced a motive, but conservationists suggest it may be linked to the growing black market for lion teeth, claws and bones.

The Asian tiger has long had its body parts used for ingredients in rare tonics, but rampant poaching has diminished their populations, and dealers have been killing lions as an alternative.

Animal Defenders International, an essential part of the rehoming process, is reportedly considering offering a reward for information leading to the capture of the poachers.