I've only seen the movie-version of The Hunger Games, and have yet to read the books. Is it explained where the bodies of the dead Tributes go, if they are removed at all?

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    IMHO, the accepted answer needs to be changed to one that actually explains where the bodies go (shipped back), not the current one that simply says they get picked up but doesn't explain what happens to them next – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 15 '15 at 14:13
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    I managed to find the exact quote, and updated my answer to be properly canonical :-) – Rand al'Thor Oct 5 '15 at 0:02

Hovercrafts are instantly dispatched to recover the body, perhaps to prevent cannibalism, which was an issue in previous Games:

There was a guy like that a few years ago from District 6 called Titus. He went completely savage and the Gamemakers had to have him stunned with electric guns to collect the bodies of the players he'd killed before he ate them. There are no rules in the arena, but cannibalism doesn't play well with the Capitol audience, so they tried to head it off. There was some speculation that the avalanche that finally took Titus out was specifically engineered to ensure the victor was not a lunatic.

And on the hovercraft to retrieve bodies quickly:

Suddenly, the birds fall silent. Then one gives a high-pitched warning call. A single note. Just like the one Gale and I heard when the redheaded Avox girl was caught. High above the dying campfire a hovercraft materializes. A set of huge metal teeth drops down. Slowly, gently, the dead tribute girl is lifted into the hovercraft. Then it vanishes. The birds resume their song.

This may have been the same hovercraft: enter image description here

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    I will point out that (in the books explicitly, and shown but not explained in the movie) the bodies are not recovered if there are still Tributes nearby - this gives Tributes the time needed to strip the body of needed equipment or recover weapons. It is also why they held off on claiming Rue's corpse long enough for Kadniss to do her mourning. – Jeff Apr 15 '13 at 2:43
  • @Jeff Probably also the mourning made good TV. – starsplusplus Sep 29 '14 at 13:49
  • @starsplusplus: Not so much, actually - they explicitly don't want the different districts to form close ties, and ended up cutting most of the mourning footage from replays and the commercial release. – Jeff Sep 29 '14 at 15:51
  • @Jeff That's a good point. You're completely right – starsplusplus Sep 29 '14 at 17:49

After being picked up by hovercraft as described in @Solemnity's answer, the bodies get shipped back to the districts and the mourning families:

I have the pearl, though, secured in a parachute with the spile and the medicine at my waist. I hope it makes it back to District 12.

Surely my mother and Prim will know to return it to Peeta before they bury my body.

-- Catching Fire, end of chapter 25

  • I can't believe this actual canonincal answer isn't just not accepted, but not even not upvoted – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 13 '15 at 22:37
  • @DVK Thanks mate! :-) I got a couple of upvotes now. But wouldn't it be better to leave such a comment on the OP instead of the answer itself? I won't do so myself, for fear of looking like Richard in accept-whoring ;-) – Rand al'Thor Jul 14 '15 at 18:01

Well, it is pretty clear overall from the books at least that the bodies in the first hunger games are picked up by hovercraft. However to more completely answer the question I would point out that Katniss thinks that the bodies of the tributes are revived (which would mean they would have to be retrieved quickly) and converted into the monsters she and Peeta have to face at the end.

...My head snaps from side to side as I examine the pack, taking in the various sizes and colors. The small one with the red coat and amber eyes…Foxface! And there, the ashen hair and hazel eyes of the boy from District 9 who died as we struggled for the backpack! And worst of all, the smallest mutt, with dark glossy fur, huge brown eyes and a collar that reads 11 in woven straw. Teeth bared in hatred....

So the mutts are likely the same tissue as existed in the tributes just revived and altered into a wolf. This is why she can recognize foxface (due to the hair).

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    IIRC, the DNA from the Tributes is used in the genetic manipulation of the Mutts, but the bodies are not revived, nor are their eyes uses (as Katniss believes during the game). – phantom42 Aug 8 '14 at 16:08

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