Rhino poaching down, but it's not good news for SA's elephants

14 February 2019 - 06:34 By MATTHEW SAVIDES
A herd of elephant take a drink at the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal. According to the environmental affairs department, elephant poaching was on the rise in South Africa in 2018.
A herd of elephant take a drink at the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal. According to the environmental affairs department, elephant poaching was on the rise in South Africa in 2018.
Image: Matthew Savides

While there was good news in the fight against rhino poaching, the news for the country’s elephants was not as promising.

The environmental affairs department said on Wednesday that rhino poaching cases had decreased from 1,028 cases in 2017 to 769 last year. It was the first time in five years that fewer than 1,000 rhino had been poached – and the third year in a row where the number of cases had declined.

However, elephant poaching was “on the increase”, the department said, albeit from a much lower base.

“A total of 71 elephants were poached in the Kruger National Park between January 1 and December 31 2018,” the department said. “One elephant was killed in KwaZulu-Natal, which brings the total for South Africa to 72 elephant for 2018.”

The department added that “specific risk areas have been identified”, and strategies to deal with this changing poaching threat were being adapted and implemented.

In 2017, 68 elephant were poached across the country – again, all but one in the Kruger National Park.


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