People, Environment

Surge in Elephant Poaching Alarms South Africa

Surge in Elephant Poaching Alarms South Africa
Surge in Elephant Poaching Alarms South Africa

While the world has been focused on the large-scale rhino poaching taking place in the Kruger National Park, elephant poaching has slipped under the radar.

Yesterday, the South African National Parks confirmed 19 elephants had been poached so far this year. “It’s true, we have lost about 19 elephants, mostly in the northern part of the park,” said SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli, Johannesburg-based news website The Citizen reports.

“At this stage, we are not sure if there is a move into the elephant population now. However, the large number might mean there is now interest.”

Thakhuli said the poachers came from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique.

“The poaching syndicates are coming from everywhere, definitely that combination, we’ve seen it in the rhino poaching incidents,” he said.

“However, we are not clear on where the demand is coming from. We have seen a huge spike in elephant poaching this year. We lost seven in October.”

Two were killed in January, another three in July, two more in August and five in September and October. In May and June last year, two elephants were killed in the Kruger.

According to, the South African elephant population has grown from an estimated 120 in 1920 in four locations, to 10,000 at 40 locations. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa said there had been an acceleration in the rate at which wild elephant populations were decreasing across Africa, driven by continued illegal ivory poaching and trade.

“Studies show that every hour, four elephants are killed in Africa for their ivory,” the organization stated on its website.

“Central Africa and East Africa are experiencing extreme levels of poaching, with Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya being hotspots.”