Local news

Elephants roam loose in Matsulu

This community neighbouring the Kruger National Park has seen an increase of wild animals crossing over from the park over the last few months.

Yet more wild animals have been spotted roaming the streets of Matsulu C, neighbouring the Kruger National Park (KNP).

This prompted some community members to raise their concerns, due to the elephants that are seen roaming in their yards. These elephants had apparently trampled through a fence out of the Kruger National Park and invaded the neighbourhood.

On Tuesday January 30, a community member, John Sithole, told the newspaper that they now live in fear of the elephants attacking them.

“These elephants have been seen in our area for weeks now. We have done our part to contact the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency [MTPA] and the Kruger National Park. We fear that one day these elephants will kill our kids, because a child can just decide to throw a rock and it might make the elephant angry. These elephants are seen during the day and night. When we have load-shedding, we do not know if we are safe, because if the power goes off before I get home, I won’t be able to see and might stumble across an elephant. We have tried everything we can and we are not getting the assistance we need. The fence is destroyed, so they keep crossing to our side and they have destroyed our gardens and trees.”

An elephant grazing outside someone’s home in Matsulu.

ALSO READ: Mpumalanga High Court convicts daughter for her mother’s murder

According to him, the community is sometimes asked to send pictures before they get assistance. “When we call the park, they request pictures from us. Sometimes it is at night, and we cannot go out there just to prove there are elephants on the loose. As the community we are just asking for a permanent solution to this matter for our sake and our kids’. We just want to live in a safe area,” he said.

In a statement, the MTPA’s spokesperson, Simphiwe Shungube, said, “The MTPA confirms that the reported four elephants that were spotted at Matsulu C (Sibuyile Section) have been pushed back into the Kruger National Park (Stolznek Section). The MTPA promptly responded to the complaint by dispatching a team dealing with damage-causing animals to manage the situation. The community is advised to continue reporting such incidents to the MTPA authorities to avoid human-wildlife conflict.”

The fence the elephants had apparently trampled when they escaped the park.

According to the KNP’s spokesperson, Ike Phaahla, they have lent the necessary assistance required by the community of Matsulu.

ALSO READ: Well-known Lowvelder PappaChef enters Culinary Olympics in Germany

“We have notified the state veterinarian, as the fence is their responsibility. The colleagues from the MTPA responded immediately and assisted in chasing the animals back into the park. Community members should also assist by reporting people who tamper with the fence.”

When commenting about the photos requested from the community members, Phaahla said, “We never ask people to take pictures, but remember, any animal outside the KNP is reported to MTPA officials and they are aware of the dangers, so it not possible that they have been asked to supply pictures. There are other community members who entice the animals by dumping mangoes next to the fence for nefarious intentions. CPF members should report such to law enforcement agencies.”

Back to top button