Beware of roaming elephants in St Lucia, warns environmental authority


Suthentira Govender, Times LIve

Date Published
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in KwaZulu-Natal has warned visitors and neighbouring communities to steer clear of roaming elephants.

Spokesperson Bheki Manzini said the animals, “with unusual behaviour”, were roaming around the western shores of the park, especially around the Dukuduku gate in St Lucia.

“The park is home to untamed wild animals that can cause damage to property, inflict injury and even cause death to human beings. You are therefore strongly urged and advised to be alert when walking or driving around the park, to stay inside your vehicles, except in designated areas, and stay away from animals.”

In January, a KwaZulu-Natal family was traumatised after an elephant overturned their SUV. The incident was captured on video by another family.

Manzini urged parents to closely monitor their children when visiting the park during the school holidays to ensure their safety.

“The park has approximately 110 elephants. Elephants are naturally a huge drawcard for tourists. However, we urge visitors to exercise caution when encountering them.”

Manzini said sitting at the back of an open vehicle or in a vehicle with no roof or sides is not permitted in the park due to the dangers posed by wild animals, particularly elephants.

“A reasonable distance should be maintained from elephants (50m) and guests may not get out of the vehicles or lean out of windows for any reason, including the taking of photographs.”