Kruger elephants under the gun (South Africa)


Citizen Reporter

Date Published

A troubling upward trend in elephant poaching has, for the first time, been observed in the Kruger National Park (KNP), the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) has revealed.

Although the overall elephant population in Kruger is not in decline, the situation could change if the trends observed in 2015 continue, it has warned.

According to, chief ranger Nicholus Funda said 15 elephant had been poached in the park in the first three months of this year, while 22 elephant were poached in 2015. It was suspected poachers were now turning their attention to elephant, as increased security around rhino in the park make it increasingly more difficult for them to be poached.

According to Cites, figures released on the 2015 trends in the poaching of African elephants on the continent show a steady increase in the levels of illegal killing of elephants witnessed since 2006, peaking in 2011.

Although the number of poached elephants has stabilised, levels remain “unacceptably” high. Estimated poaching rates remain higher than the normal growth rate of elephant populations, or above the sustainability threshold, meaning the overall elephant population is likely to have continued to decline.

Significant increased poaching levels were also found in Ruaha-Rungwa, in the United Republic of Tanzania and Chewore, in Zimbabwe. However, the most positive news comes from Eastern Africa, where the situation is comparable to levels recorded in that region in 2008.

“African elephant populations continue to face an immediate threat to their survival from unacceptably high levels of poaching for their ivory, especially in Central and West Africa, where high levels of poaching are still evident,” said Cites secretary general John Scanlon.

“There are some encouraging signs, including in certain parts of Eastern Africa, where the overall poaching trends have declined, showing us all what is possible through a sustained and collective effort with strong political support.”