DINOKENG GAME RESERVE PLANS TO KILL A MATRIARCH
THE EMS FOUNDATION STATEMENT
2ND DECEMBER 2021
Dinokeng Game Reserve is a 21000 hectare wildlife reserve in the Gauteng province, South Africa. It was officially opened on the 22nd September 2011 by the Gauteng Provincial Government to promote ecotourism and job creation involving more than 170 landowners. The government owns 4000 hectares of the reserve. Dinokeng is situated one hour from Johannesburg and whilst it sounds idyllic the reserve is situated next to densely populated impoverished town called Hammanskraal.
The NGO Elephants Rhinos and People conducted a survey on 94 of the internal landowner fences and the perimeter fence at Dinokeng. The results of this survey concluded that the requirements recommended in the National Elephants Norms and Standards were not fulfilled.
In 2014 it was reported that Dinokeng Game Reserve did not have sufficient funds to maintain the permitter fence.
On the 17th of April 2017 it was reported that a herd of elephants had escaped from Dinokeng Game Reserve.
Dinokeng’s Elephant Management Plan 2018 states that all the aforementioned fences would be upgraded in 2022 in order to adequately fence their elephant population. Dinokeng Game Enterprises Chairman Etienne Toerien confirmed that much of the fencing within the property was not up to standard, leaving elephants to break through properties inside Dinokeng.
A HISTORY OF QUESTIONABLE ELEPHANT MANAGEMENT
Dinokeng Game Reserve is a small reserve with an extremely high density of human activity. In light of the fact that so many elephants have been killed at Dinokeng, we have to question their expertise and experience with regard to managing elephants. It is quite evident that they do not understand the complexities of elephant behaviour or herd social dynamics.
A media report in 2018 revealed that Elephants, Rhinos and People had withdrawn their elephant monitoring services from Dinokeng. This is after the management of Dinokeng had applied for two Damage-Causing Animal permits to have two elephant bulls killed. A representative of ERP stated that the landowners on Dinokeng were hindering proper elephant management.
Three elephants have already been killed at Dinokeng Game Reserve. In November 2016 a young bull elephant was shot without the required approval. A young female elephant was also illegally shot leaving her injured, she was then misidentified by Dinokeng vet Dr Jacques O’Dell during a collaring an immobilisation process which eventually killed her. A bull elephant known as Hot Stuff was killed using a Damage Causing Animal permit.
On the 5th August 2019 the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group issued a statement with regard to the acquisition of eleven elephants by the Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng. The scientific experts representing ESAG placed on record that they did not support the introduction of the proposal to introduce these elephants until such a time as the Dinokeng Management proved that they can adequately manage and monitor their existing elephants, maintain their fences to the required standard.
KILLING A MATRIARCH
The management at Dinokeng Game Reserve failed to engage with elephant experts with regard to their management of the elephants.
A notice was sent to the Dinokeng Game Reserve landowners stating that the matriarch elephant at Dinokeng is going to be killed today, 2nd December 2021.
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that they have issued a permit to kill the Matriarch and that it has not been rescinded.
The planned killing of this elephant who apparently also has a young calf is likely to be challenged as it is also likely that it is in contravention of the Norms and Standards for Management of Elephants in South Africa.
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