Cause of death of elephants Kasper and Kitso revealed (South Africa)


Tumelo Waga Dibakwane, Lowvelder

Date Published

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The two iconic elephants of Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary, Kasper and Kitso’s cause of death has come to light.

The duo died while under sedation during relocation efforts from the Lowveld to Kleinmond Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Cape on April 23.  

They died due to mechanical issues with the cranes used to move them, causing them to be under sedation for longer than usual.

The owner and the custodian of the elephants, Craig Saunders, said the two bulls did not respond to reversal drugs designed to wake them up, and this resulted in their deaths.

“The agency responsible for issuing the permit for the relocation process from Hazyview to Kleinmond, the MTPA, launched a procedural enquiry following the deaths of Kasper and Kitso, requesting a full report from the supervising veterinarian, Douw Grobbler, also well known for his considerable experience in elephant relocation. We have followed all the procedures, and a post-mortem was conducted by a qualified veterinarian, and the cause of death was discovered. We are still devastated by the loss of our two beloved elephants. They will be missed by people who used to visit the Hazyview Elephant Sanctuary, the animal carers and my family,” said Saunders.

“Kasper and Kitso’s habitat in Hazyview had come under increasing social and environmental pressure. There was a helicopter spraying crops in the area, which posed an adverse effect on the elephants’ health and their habitat. Unfortunately, we could not expand the size of their existing location, and so it was essential to relocate them to a new space just outside Kleinmond to live out the rest of their days,” Saunders said.

The MTPA was unavailable for comment.