Officials at the Kruger National Park reported a slight increase in elephant poaching incidents in comparison to this time last year.
According to SANparks spokesperson, Ike Phaahla, 30 elephants have been poached from January to August this year. In 2016 over a 12 month period, the park lost 22 elephants to poaching. Rhino poaching provided a slightly different picture, with 354 rhino poached by July last year, and only 243 rhino poached by July this year, revealing a 34% decrease. Phaahla explained that the decrease in rhino poaching is due to additional measures that have been put in place by the park.
In the last eight months, 90 people have been arrested inside the Kruger Park for activities that are related to poaching. Phaahla emphasised the importance of park visitors reporting any suspicious activity to park officials.
"We've been able to make these arrests because of the participation of park guests. People that have seen suspicious activity have called in and notified us. That has led to some arrests being made," he said.
The park had made additional measures to educate the communities surrounding the park about the impact of poaching on the environment, and how they too can get involved in fighting poaching.
Speaking at a visit to a crime scene of an elephant that was poached 2-3 weeks ago,near the Mozambican border, Phaahla said both South Africa and Mozambique were hard at work to ensure the safety of animals. "We are very happy with the support that we have been given by Mozambican officials, especially when criminal activity has happened on that side of the border," he said.
Phaahla added that the park would be instituting further security measures to also fight the poaching of elephant.