from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban, South Africa
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE onset of the amarula harvesting season is a source of headache for game rangers in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
It coincides with elephants escaping from the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP).
Residents live in fear of their lives and their livestock.
Earlier this week, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife euthanized one “jumbo”that had wandered off the HiP.
“The elephant had wandered into communal land when a permit for its destruction was issued,” the agency stated.
“All elephant assets (tusk, trunk, etc) have been removed as it is feared that the local community might descend on the carcass.”
The incident happened not so long after this CAJ News Africa had reported about the discovery of a big hole in the fence at the HiP.
Musa Mntambo, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Communications’ Manager, told CAJ News Africa it is common that during the season of amarula, as is ongoing, elephants would escape from a reserve and wander into the community areas in search of the fruit.
“In such circumstances, we always first push it back inside the park and repair a fence,” the spokesperson said.
“It is only when the same elephant keeps on escaping and puts the lives of innocent people in danger that we destroy such troublesome elephants.”
Mntambo disclosed the elephant euthanized recently had escaped for more than three times when a destruction permit was issued.
In 2021, three elephants were put down. Apparently, five had escaped but the two were pushed back to the park.
Last year 2022, two tourists escaped an elephant attack while driving in the area.
The elephant decided to lift the car and throw it into a ditch on the side of the road. There were no casualties.
Established in 1895, HiP is said to be the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa.
For its popularity with the giant animal, the marula tree is also called “The Elephant Tree.”
– CAJ News