Elephants on the roam in KZN
Wendy Jasson Da Costa, IOL
January 27, 2024
Elephants in KwaZulu-Natal are increasingly breaching wild spaces where
they are protected and wandering into nearby villages, raising concerns
about human safety in some areas.
Last Saturday conservation NGO WeWild Africa and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
joined up for an emergency rescue when five elephants wandered out of the
Ndumo game reserve into the surrounding community.
WeWild Africa director Dereck Milburn said currently there was a lot of
human-wildlife conflict and data showed that elephant bulls from the Kruger
National Park were moving into southern Mozambique, sometimes killing
people, and from there they moved into the Ndumo reserve in KZN.
“The elephants are finding refuge in Ndumo. They are coming across the
border, which is very porous. They find themselves in Ndumo, then walk
south where they break the fence which is not elephant-proof and then walk
through the communities, causing quite a lot of challenges,” said Milburn.
He said the elephants appeared to be following an old migratory route.
Last month, 13 elephants destroyed areas when they moved into an area with
lots of people around them.
“So even to try to get a helicopter in to catch them would’ve been
difficult, because the elephants would then be pushed into people.
“Ezemvelo didn’t want to shoot those elephants but they were left with no
option and the NGOs that were supposed to help them didn’t give them much
information,” said Milburn.
He said since then two herds of elephants had entered Ndumo from Mozambique
and they had sent a helicopter up at significant cost to chase them back
into the reserve and prevent them from being killed.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife said they currently had another situation in Pongola
where, over the past two weeks, residents had reported seeing elephants
Spokesperson Musa Mntambo said one night the elephants were resting on a
key road and motorists had to park overnight until the elephants decided to
“A number of game reserves in KZN have exceeded the carrying capacity of
elephants, both state and private reserves. They breed a lot and the space
we have is not enough to carry the amount of elephants that we have.”
He told the Independent on Saturday that last year they had issued a
statement inviting game reserve owners to indicate if they had space to
accommodate elephants and also offered to relocate them free of charge.
However, no one responded to the offer.