News & Politics

Feel-Good Story of The Week: Elephants Stomp Another Poacher

(Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Safari Park via AP)

Anti-poaching rangers were patrolling Kruger National Park in South Africa looking for poachers. They found one, but elephants found him first.

Rangers found the mangled body of a suspected poacher. Fortunately, his phone somehow survived the pounding. It was turned over to police with the hopes of locating the poacher’s partners.

“Initial investigations suspect that the deceased was killed by an elephant and left behind by his accomplices,” Kruger National Park spokesman Isaac Phaahla stated.

Last April, rangers inadvertently chased three rhino poachers into a herd of breeding elephants. One was stomped to death, one was apprehended, and one escaped.

Yet another poacher was stomped in 2019. Most of his remains were eaten by lions.

I find it hard to feel bad for poachers who get trampled by elephants and eaten by lions.

Related: Save the Rhino!

A new study, “Ivory Poaching and the Rapid Evolution of Tusklessness in African Elephants,” suggests elephants are no longer growing tusks due to generations of poaching.

The good news is that fewer elephants are being born with tusks, which means fewer are hunted. The bad news is poachers are doubling down on rhino hunting. The park’s rhino population has dropped 70% in the last ten years, leaving just about 4,000 rhinos remaining.

FACT-O-RAMA!  More than 90% of the tusked elephant population of Gorongosa National Park was killed during the Mozambique civil war, 1977-1992. Both sides slaughtered elephants and sold their ivory to pay for the war.

Poaching Crackdown

Kruger park rangers, including K-9 units and pilots in planes, recently busted five poachers in two days. Four were arrested on Oct. 15, when rangers caught four poachers who tried to flee. One day later, rangers surprised two more poachers, resulting in a gunfight. One poacher was killed and the other was apprehended trying to abscond. Rangers found a bag with two rhino horns and the remains of a hornless, male, black rhino nearby.

On Oct. 14 yet another poacher was sentenced to 19 years for killing and dehorning a rhino.

Twenty-two poachers have been arrested this year so far, compared to 17 in the same time period in 2020, a whopping 29.41% increase. Kudos to the rangers and their K-9s — and to the elephants — for fighting back.

AP/Reuters Feed Library