The South African National Parks (SANParks), have denied allegations that high elephant numbers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) have reached unmanageable levels.
Dr Salomon Joubert, director of the KNP from 1986 to 1994, said on Monday (29 April) that the elephant population in South Africa’s largest wilderness area was a “huge problem”.
Dr Sam Ferreira, Large Mammal Ecologist for SANParks countered Joubert’s statements by saying that the 2012 elephant census counted 16 700 individuals, well below what SANParks had projected. “In 1994, when Kruger stopped elephant culling, there were about 8000 elephants in the park and the population was growing at 6.5% per annum. That predicted that Kruger should have had 24 500 elephants in 2012,” said Ferreira.
“Elephant population growth has decreased to 3.5%. The bottom line is that across Kruger, SANParks observe indications that the elephant population are stabilizing, but differently in different landscapes,” he added.
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Photo credits: Elephant Action League (Kruger National Park, South Africa)