Elephants in KwaZulu - Natal



I have just come across this article which I got by email from the KZN Wildlife Rhino Club. I thought of sharing it because it refers to some of the Game Reserves in the Vicariate of Ingwavuma (which I indicated in bold)

"Up until the beginning of the eighties there were no elephants in KwaZulu-Natal except those that moved between Mozambique and the northern area of the province now proclaimed as Tembe Elephant Park.

At that time, the Kruger National Park maintained the elephant population there through an extensive culling programme. This resulted in numerous elephant orphans aged between five and seven years old. These were boma trained by the National Parks and then translocated as founder populations to areas where elephants previously occurred.

The first KwaZulu-Natal park to receive these youngsters was the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. This was followed by Ithala Game Reserve, the Eastern Shores of Lake St Lucia and Mkhuze Game Reserve.

There were many problems with introducing young orphaned elephants. Young elephants spend many years with adults and are taught the whole range of acceptable social behaviour. Without mentors these young elephants did not know how to behave with each other and with the other animals sharing the area. Initially a number were killed by rhino. This was reversed as these animals grew into adulthood. Elephants have exceptional memories and they remembered their treatment by the rhino and proceeded to take revenge with the loss of a number of rhino, both black and white.

This aggressive behaviour extended to visitors and their vehicles. The solution was to bring in adult elephants to try and teach them some manners. This was done with some success and most of the problems stopped.

The elephants introduced to Eastern Shores came from Hluhluwe and shortly after their release they crossed the lake and a few even managed to walk back to Hluhluwe where they were allowed to remain. The majority settled on the Western shores of the lake where they remain today.

The elephants have settled into their new homes and now it is possible to have great elephant sightings in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, Ithala, Mkhuze, and in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park as well as in Tembe Elephant Park which is reputed to have the biggest elephants in South Africa."

(KZN Wildlife Rhino Club)


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