EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Letaba Herald
A car was wrecked beyond recognition when it hit a rogue elephant roaming on the road between Mica and Hoedspruit just outside the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The driver and owner of the vehicle is believed to be former Mopani Municipal Manager Tim Maake.
First indications are that nobody was seriously injured in the accident and, while the car damage was extensive, no injured elephant was found on the scene.
The elephant was believed to be part of a herd of seven which has since been guided back to the area they escaped from next to the Olifants River.
A number of rogue elephants have been seen roaming the main roads outside Kruger recently in search of food and the accident was not, therefore, unexpected.
The severe drought and pressure due to excessive numbers of elephants in the Kruger National Park and other reserves has lead to elephants searching for alternative habitat and food sources.
Speaking on the incident, Craig Spencer, Head Warden of Balule Private Game Reserve said, “Due to the drought, many animals have displaced from their normal foraging ranges and find themselves in trouble once they leave the sanctuary of the Greater Kruger National Park. In some areas, there are no fences between mines and farmers as there was never a need for this, or the landscape just does not facilitate fencing, such as the larger rivers that flow through the park. In recent months, we have retrieved white and black rhinos, buffalo, waterbuck, impala, nyala, lions, cheetah and of course, 17 elephants! The cooperation from all state departments and local farmers has been amazing and without their help, we would not have been successful in returning these animals to the protected areas. Sadly, there is no way they can be accommodated outside the park boundaries……. yet. Our recent interventions for the elephants has led to a new area being included into the protected area, north-west of the Olifants River which effectively increases their range by over 1,500ha and alleviates the pressure on farmers and keeps them off dangerous mines and roads! This has been extremely costly so far and has necessitated new fencing in the expanded area, helicopters, vets, etc. No animals have been lost yet and all returned safely. If an elephant was hit by that vehicle on Friday morning, we can’t find any injured or affected elephant. We have searched and inspected all elephants that could have been hit by the car and made sure they are all safely inside the park boundaries now. All in all, a very successful intervention so far with our fantastic multi-agency team from Balule, Elephants Alive, Transfrontier Africa and the neighbouring farmers. It is time of drought and other stresses that we really get put to the test and it is very heartening that the Hoedspruit community, farm watch, LEDET and farmers were forgiving enough to allow our team to try and solve the problem before resorting to old fashioned means.”