About Our Area
Holiday Guide 2014|2015
Download Sport Guide
Arts & Entertainment
Download TV Guide
Submit an Event
Those Camera Guys
Inspirasie viri Nasie
Life in the Slow Lane
Looking for a Car?
Hikers come across Knysna’s mythical forest beast
PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - A Knysna elephant was spotted by the Plett Panters, a group of retired folk who belong to The University of the Third Age (U3A), whilst they were hiking in the Knysna Forest on Thursday May 5.
Contrary to initial reports that two elephants were sighted, only one set of tracks has been confirmed, based on reports by experienced trackers Wilfred Oraai and Karel Maswatie.
Over the years, the elusive Knysna elephants have taken on an almost mythical quality, with many skeptics doubting their very existence.
Knysna elephants were described as "functionally extinct" until September 2000 when forest guard, Wilfred Oraai, encountered and photographed a young bull from a distance of some thirty metres.
Clearly this young bull had parents and as such it was impossible that only one female existed as was commonly accepted.
In 2001 Gareth Patterson, author of The Secret Elephants, began an independent study of the Knysna elephants. He found many signs suggesting that "far from dying out, the Knysna elephants are quietly and secretly, holding their own".
According to Robyn Eidelman, the U3A hiking coordinator, an elephant was spotted in a field of ferns, apparently foraging on the ridge opposite to where the group was hiking.
Colleen Milligan spotted what she then thought to be the first elephant.
Some of the hiking group were quite far ahead of the rest and Milligan wanted to tell them about the elephant without making a noise, so she ran down the hill. Milligan laughs as she recounts that the rest of the group thought she was joking. "It was so exciting! We were like a bunch of school kids tearing around there," says Milligan.
Patterson’s DNA research in collaboration with conservation geneticist Lori Eggert, in conjunction with his fieldwork, has established that at least five young females exist. He refers to the Knysna elephants as "the only unfenced elephant population in South Africa".
With reference to the recent elephant sighting, Patterson says, "I think it is an absolute celebration." He went on to explain the importance of leaving these elephants in peace and respecting them as survivors.
Zanemvula Gozongo, manager of communication for the Garden Route National Park, expressed thanks to the U3A members for their valuable information and quick response in alerting SANParks of their sighting.
"The Scientific Services Department of the Garden Route National Park immediately dispatched a team, consisting of a scientist, Lizette Moolman, and two rangers to the reported site, the same day," said Gozongo.
Moolman was accompanied by Gaby Bland, one of the U3A members who saw the elephants, to the area where the sighting was made. The rangers took photographs of spoor in the area, but according to Gozongo the spoor was unfortunately unclear.
An elephant was again sighted close to the original sighting location, on Monday, May 16. "Without any doubt it is the same animal," says a local Knysna forest expert.
ARTICLE: CANDICE LUDICK
08:00 (GMT+2), Thu, 19 May 2011
you will be directed to the registration page. Once you have completed the registration process, please return to this page.
New Zealand Dollar
Get your free daily horoscope + free daily forecast below.
Choose your zodiac sign:
March 21 - April 19
September 23 - October 22
April 20 - May 20
October 23 - November 21
May 21 - June 20
November 22 - December 21
June 21 - July 22
December 22 - January 19
July 23 - August 22
January 20 - February 18
August 23 - September 22
February 19 - March 20
Ster-Kinekor released the gripping drama Everest in IMAX 3D, for a truly...
3D - Minions
Intended as a sort of prequel to Dispicable Me, this animated aventure...
Ricki & the Flash
Ricki (Meryl Streep) is an aging rock star who abandoned her family to...
Tracy, a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude...
The Transporter Refueled
In France's criminal underworld, Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) is known as The...
More Movie Trailers >
Air hockey is one of everyone's favorite challenges! Represent your...
Mini Pool 3
This is the most advanced edition of the popular online version of Pool...
In this Digital Domino Game all the rules are the same as the real game....
The classic mind-wracking math puzzle game is now online! With a brad new...
More Games >
This week, SAPS released the South African crime statistics for the period 2014/15 and the Knysna-Plett Herald published the Garden Route figures as given to us. Do you believe these figures to be accurate?
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 51.
View more profiles...
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 50.
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View more profiles...
More Group Editors Publications & Online Platforms
Copyright © 2015 Group Editors Co PTY Ltd t/a Knysna-Plett Herald