Illegal collared elephant hunt in Greater Kruger – warden convicted

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by NamStay, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. NamStay

    NamStay AH Fanatic

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    Source: https://conservationaction.co.za/re...hant-hunt-in-greater-kruger-warden-convicted/


    On 13 August this year a scheduled elephant hunt was conducted illegally in Balule Nature Reserve, a private reserve within the unfenced Great Kruger area, but outside of the Kruger National Park boundaries. A collared male elephant of 20-30 years old, with tusks of approximately 30 pounds on each side, was shot and killed during the illegal hunt.

    Balule management laid criminal charges against the culprit as soon as the incident was reported.

    A regional warden by the name of Frikkie Kotze, representing the private property within Balule during the hunt, pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined R50,000 OR five years imprisonment, with both options suspended for five years. In addition, he must pay R35,000 to Elephants Alive to replace the elephant collar. The hunting party consisted of Kotze, professional hunter and outfitter JJ Horn, the client and his wife.

    Why was the hunt illegal?

    According to information gleaned from various sources, the permit for this hunt was issued by Limpopo authorities (LEDET) whereas the elephant was killed in the Mpumalanga Province. Balule straddles both provinces, and according to our sources the hunting party strayed about 700 metres across the provincial boundary to shoot the elephant. Relevant hunting protocol demands that the warden and professional hunter should have a good working knowledge of the area – including provincial boundaries.

    Why was the hunt a breach of accepted hunting protocol?

    The elephant was collared and part of an ongoing research project by Elephants Alive. The elephant, sponsored by Youth 4 African Wildlife, was named ‘George’ by the research team, and was collared on 15 August 2016. Data from his movements and behaviour formed part of a study by the University of Nottingham into how geochemistry influences elephant movements. According to our sources the elephant was covered in mud at the time of the hunt and the warden and professional hunter claimed not to have seen the collar, as it was, according to him, “very tight around the elephant’s neck”. The collar was removed after the elephant was killed, and sent to Balule head warden Craig Spencer, who delivered the collar to Elephants Alive.

    Aside from the above factors, all necessary permits and documentation for the hunt in Limpopo Province were apparently in place, and according to Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) hunting protocol, the elephant was of suitable age (20-30 years) and tusk size (30 pounds each side) for hunting purposes.

    Comment from Balule representative

    We contacted newly-appointed Balule chairperson Sharon Haussmann, who seems determined to stamp out illegal activities and actions that breach accepted protocol, and she had the following to say:

    “I would like to state as chairperson of Balule Nature Reserve that I and my team are committed to good governance, with transparency and cooperation within the Greater Kruger system. This incident, a costly mistake by the regional warden, is extremely unfortunate and we worked pro-actively with the authorities for justice to prevail.”
     

  2. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Interesting. Thanks for the post. Namstay......................is the source, "Conservationaction" reliable? Or is it like ABC or CNN here in America? Biased drivel slanted to suit their needs? If truly 700 meters off bubble in this day and age of GPS then $3600 buck fine is a bargain................FWB
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That about says it all.
     
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  4. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    700 meters..geeez.
     

  5. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Fanatic

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    Cripes. I wouldn't know when I was 700 meters into my neighbor's property. It's just deep woods with lots of ravines and brambles and thickets and so forth, with the same elm, beech, magnolia, pine, and sycamore trees all over the place.
     
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  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Come on Zim you are in Texas. That could get you hauled off in cuffs here before you even fired a shot.
     

  7. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Fanatic

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    I suppose, but
    A) this is family land in Louisiana
    B) the neighbor is a LONG-time family friend (at least 50 years). His boys and I were best friends growing up, and he and my dad worked together at LSU for about 35 years (he actually worked for my dad).

    We've been hunting those 2 properties since the late '70s. 700 meters might be a stretch, but there aren't any fences between our places, and 200-300 meters over the line would be an easy mistake to make. and in any case, if one of us did it, we'd just call or text the other one to let them know.
     
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  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    No collar and this event likely never sees the light of day. Had the bull been taken 800m in the right direction, the researchers are still pissed but have nothing to file with the authorities.

    That said, operator probably should have known where he was. Client got screwed.
     
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  9. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Got it. I'm tracking.

    I don't know this PH, but I would be stunned if he was unaware he had crossed a boundary. I feel really bad for the client.
     
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  10. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Fanatic

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    When I tell you this place is THICK, dude, it's thick. They picked up their property in the late 70s. Ours has been in the family for more than a century. I started squirrel hunting there when I was about 6 or 7. I've gotten turned around in there more times than I care to admit.

    If you've ever "The Hobbit," think "Mirkwood Forest." ;)
     
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  11. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Just one of the weird things that can happen when the sovereignty/province a farm has sat in for 139 years is divided into four new provinces.
     
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  12. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    With @Red Leg on this one. Feel bad for the client, who undoubtedly lost his trophy (see below!), and likely had more than a few worrying moments (violation of the Lacey act if he brought any part of it home, assuming he was American?).

    The PH/warden had to know he had crossed a boundary - with all due respect to @sgt_zim (sounds like a beautiful piece of land in Louisiana though)! And if he didn't know he'd crossed it, he shouldn't have been hunting in the area, or should have had someone with him who knew the boundaries. I've hunted lots of areas which bordered national parks, and which had no fences. My PHs were never in any doubt where the borders between the parks and the concessions were, and were careful not to step "offside" if we were in the vicinity of a border. As a client, I, of course, had no idea where the border was . . . so was entirely dependent.

    The other thing I have to add, which is entirely beside the point, but 30 pounds a side? Seriously? Seems a bit on the small side to me . . .
     
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  13. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I have a GPS with SA Topo maps on it. It sets out every farm boundary. I wanted to know where I was hunting.
    I had a guide here at home that was trying to take us across a provincial border to hunt geese. In the dark without the GPS I would have been hunting without a license, if I had followed that muppet into his field of choice.
     

  14. NamStay

    NamStay AH Fanatic

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    Latest on this incident


    Source: https://africageographic.com/blog/balule-responds-regarding-traumatising-elephant-hunt-incident/


    Balule responds regarding traumatising elephant hunt incident


    We wish to express deep regret that visitors to the reserve had to endure a harrowing and traumatising incident in which an elephant was shot by hunters near the lodge that the visitors were staying at. We apologise profusely and unreservedly to those affected.


    Based on witness accounts gathered to date, this incident seems not to comply with the sustainable utilisation model of ethical hunting in accordance with the hunting protocol that governs all reserves within the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) and to which Balule and hence Maseke are bound.

    We are currently doing an in-depth internal investigation into the incident, and will report back once the process has been completed. If the results of the investigation point to unethical behaviour or behaviour that is contrary to established protocols we will have no hesitation in taking the appropriate disciplinary action. This has been a difficult few months for us, with a recent illegal elephant hunt on Balule that resulted in a warden being convicted, and we wish to stress our determination to operate in an ethical and transparent manner.

    Note that we conduct detailed post-hunt reports on each and every trophy hunt conducted on Balule, to ensure compliance with legal and ethical requirements. At this early stage, we can confirm the following facts about this incident:

    • The incident occurred on Friday afternoon on November 23rd, in the Maseke Game Reserve, which is incorporated into Balule Nature Reserve;

    • The hunt took place in view and about 800 metres from a lodge situated in a neighbouring property;

    • Several shots were fired before the elephant was successfully brought down;

    • Balule management responded as soon as they were notified by the lodge about the incident;

    • There were four eyewitnesses to the incident from the lodge viewing deck. We have obtained statements from them;

    • Contrary to news media reports, there is no allegation or proof of the use of alcohol by the hunting party before the hunting incident;

    • We have a statement from an independent observer who was at the scene shortly after the incident, who has testified under oath to the sobriety of the hunting party;

    • The hunt was legal, and we have verified all permits;

    • Our investigation relates to possible contravention of APNR trophy hunting protocol and ethical practice;

    • The internal investigation is currently awaiting further correspondence and statements from the Maseke Game Reserve representative.

    Balule Nature Reserve Executive Committee
    28 November 2018
     
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  15. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Fanatic

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    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    If it had been on the other side of the line and these 4 witnesses were still able to see it, I'm sure the precious little snowflakes would have been traumatized by that, too.

    What an insipid life it must be for those people who are content merely to observe and never participate. Even worse, they are on a crusade to ensure that there are nothing but observers, as if the whole world is one big zoo. :censored::censored::censored:
     
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  16. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    You need to remember that the lodge they're speaking of is for people doing photo safaris. The Balule is a pretty large area, as are the other KNP bordering properties forming the APNR. Hunting as a means of population control has been agreed to by the APNR and I would presume KNP too, but only on the privately held properties.

    As such, there's I'm sure an agreement with the lodges as to no hunt zones, like close to the lodges for no other reason than safety, but I'm sure also to keep it out of view of the photo tourists. They did not pay to see an animal hunted and I'm sure a certain amount of anti-hunters are in this category and this just makes things worse.

    Again, the outfitter/PH screwed this hunt up. The ultimate fallout from this could be no more hunting on the APNR properties.
     
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  17. Big5

    Big5 AH Fanatic

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    I am becoming traumatized by learning that the witnesses all claim to have been traumatized by the incident.
     

  18. Iwannahunt

    Iwannahunt AH Veteran

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    I think things look like things are actually working like they should in this situation. A "mistake" whether knowingly or not was made. Seven hundred meters is just to far to be a grey area in this day and age, and the outfitter knows that. Outfitter was fined, penalty will be payed, justice served. Outfitter won't do that again. Anti hunters certainly can't say that nothing was done about it. The client is truly the biggest loser in this case but I would hope the outfitter would offer him some sort of compensation, maybe a do over.
     

  19. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Fanatic

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    No disagreement, Phil. Just asserting that these clucking little hens would still be all verklempt even the ele had been taken 701 meters away. The existence of such humans gravely offends me. They offend me because those who participate in actually living ultimately make life possible for them, have always made life possible for them. I don't expect gratitude from such people, but is it too much to hope that they could just keep their poorly formed opinions and emotions to themselves? (that's a rhetorical question, I know the answer ;) )
     

  20. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    This is a separate hunt in Balule than the previous post. This hunt takes place November 23 and an elephant is shot 800 meters from a lodge. The initial report takes place in August. In that hunt a collared elephant on Balule is shot in Mapumalanga, 700 meters from the Limpopo province boundary where the license was issued.

    Wonder if elephant hunting on Balule is about finished.
     
    jeff likes this.

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