Johannesburg – An emergency was declared as the first elephant was poached on the western border of Kruger National Park.
Each day in Africa around 100 elephants die at the hands of poachers. Almost all the killing has occurred beyond the borders of South Africa but, as the escalating slaughter of rhinos in Kruger National Park shows, when the ivory poachers move south they could be unstoppable.
For this reason, when a dead snared elephant with its tusks removed was found in Balule Game Reserve on the western border of Kruger last Thursday, everyone scrambled.
‘We had the Air Force, the Parks Board and Balule’s Black Mambas anti-poaching unit there really fast,’ said Craig Spencer, director of Transfrontier Africa.
‘There were 35 people on the ground and we did an autopsy on the spot. The Parks Board is absolutely petrified this could start an ivory market in the area, so we have to get our hands on that ivory fast. We don’t want to alert the community to the value of poaching elephants.’