It was with deep regret that SANParks and the Kruger National Park (KNP) Management team were notified of the recent incident in which an elephant was allegedly unethically hunted in Balule Nature Reserve, a neighbouring conservation area. The KNP was immediately notified by the Chairperson of the reserve who indicated that they had immediately initiated an investigation and has committed to provide the KNP and immediate adjacent conservation areas of the outcome of the investigation.
“The KNP would like to commend the Reserve for taking immediate action to investigate the matter, and for their commitment to take all possible measures to ensure compliance with all legal and ethical requirements, pending the finalisation of the investigation, its recommendations and to take severe action against any persons and or organisations who are found to be in breach”; said Managing of the KNP, Glenn Phillips.
The immediate communication and transparent action is a testimony to the commitment of Balule management to ensuring compliance by all its members. Sadly, as is always the case, it only takes one individual or organisation to smear the good name of those reserves that seek to comply with ethical and responsible practice.
Three years ago KNP initiated a process to review and regularise the relationships on the western boundary in line with the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Treaty (GLTP Treaty, 2002), legal framework and consistent with international best practice guidelines. Three years of negotiations and contract negations have resulted in a sound draft agreement that the Greater Kruger western boundary conservation parties will sign on 5 December 2018. The Great Limpopo Tranfrontier Conservation Area Cooperative Agreement at its bedrock seeks to ensure sound governance, compliance and accountability in line with the relevant national and provincial legal frameworks, as well as the implementation, monitoring and reporting of responsible conservation, tourism and socio-economic practices.
“The KNP will not condone any practice that is unethical, unsustainable or to the detriment of the conservation estate. SANParks once again reiterates that importance of compliance to both the principles and objectives of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. The organisation is keenly awaiting the finalisation of the investigation”, concluded Phillips.