A heard of elephants in South Africa might face slaughter after two rogue tuskers reportedly killed a conservationist who was trying to shepherd them back to a reserve. According to international media reports, Reserve of Mawana head Beyers Coetzee was trampled and gored to death while trying to guide 31 elephants back to safety after they had strayed off. Now, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, which is a local governmental organisation, is deciding whether to shoot dead all the strong elephant herd.
While speaking to an international media outlet, reserve employee Thobani Masondi said that he was by Coetzee's side when he died. He said that he was leading and Coetzee was close by and had been setting off the crackers even though he was told that it is making the tuskers angry. It was moments after, that the elephants came out of the bush from 15 metres and there was nothing anyone could do to help him.
The wildlife's spokesperson, Musa Mntambo reportedly said that they were investigating the circumstances of the death of Coetzee, however, he further added, they have not yet decided the fate of the herd. While speaking to the media outlet, he said that the organisation is in the business of conserving animals and the decision to destroy any animal is taken with a heavy heart. He, however, also mentioned that the two tuskers, who were responsible for the death, are certainly likely to be shot dead.
Elephants have always been a threat to human life in South Africa. Recently, the country also auctioned six licenses to hunt a total of 60 elephants. According to international media reports, the country legalized hunting of elephants as 'there are too many of them' and the recent allowance on hunting is in a bid to 'end human-wildlife conflict'.
The elephant population in Africa is also on a decline, however, countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana face 'overpopulation' due to which the country legalised the killing of elephants. South Africa reportedly also has reconsidered conservation laws to try and balance the need to protect sought-after species such as elephants, rhinos and buffalo from poaching while managing danger they pose as they encroach on areas of human habitation.