Chris Hattingh, MPL
DA Leader in North West
The DA in North West has called for an independent investigation into the possible illegal killing of three adult elephants in the North West. The elephants were killed and their calves orphaned. The calves were intended to be shipped off to an elephant facility in the Eastern Cape, apparently in contravention of environmental regulations.
The DA North West wants an enquiry in Parliament’s Environment committee about the North West government’s role in allowing permits for the killing of the adults and transport of the calves. The events surrounding these killings appear to be in contravention of environmental regulations. Norms of Standards for Elephant Management issued by the Environment Department only allow culling of elephants as a last resort. They also ban the sale of elephant calves for commercial purposes, in this case elephant back-riding.
While the Environment Department nationally is apparently investigating this matter, an independent investigation is needed given that the Department is extensively implicated in permitting matter. The current investigation also does not include a probe into the killing of the elephants, only the transport of the orphans. The involvement of Douw Grobler in the transport of the animals also raises concerns about the legality of the entire process. Grobler was a wildlife vet who was fired from Kruger National Park and criminally charged for being in possession of a controlled substance for darting rhino. If contraventions of environmental regulations are found to have taken place then we could be dealing with a case of state-sponsored illegal killing of elephants which cannot be taken lightly by the authorities.