by Cindy Tilney
A second elephant has been butchered for its tusks by poachers in Parfuri, northern Kruger National Park, 10km in from the Mozambican and Zimbabwean borders.
SANParks officials discovered the two-day-old carcass with its tusks hacked out Tuesday morning. No further details regarding the age or sex of the elephant were available and no suspects have as yet been arrested in connection with the crime.
This is the second incident of elephant poaching in the Parfuri region of Kruger in recent months, highlighting the onslaught of elephant poaching predicted by conservationists, who have warned that rampant poaching in neighbouring countries would begin to spill over South African borders, and the urgent need for heightened action by government to step up protection measures and find solutions to a crisis that seems to be not only looming, but already unfolding.
“Elephant poaching has been happening for a while now in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, so we did expect that it would at some stage reach our area,” said SANparks spokesperson William Mabasa.
The Parfuri region of KNP is particularly vulnerable to penetration by poachers because of its proximity to both the Mozambican and Zimbabwean border, which makes it a prime target for criminal syndicates operating on the other side of these borders, and a sitting duck for corrupt customs and parks officials.
A recent report held that rogue South African trophy hunters are also at play in orchestrating poaching operations. Independent intelligence sources allegedly uncovered documents implicating local safari units in aiding and abetting Mozambican poachers by supplying them with ammunition, finding buyers for the horns and bribing South African officials and Mozambican politicians to facilitate the process. They claim to have passed on the information to South African authorities, but not to have received any feedback.