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Media Release: Addo Elephant National Park jackals poisoned

Date: 2014-08-19

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A toxicology report has revealed that the cause of death of 36 jackals, two crows and two unconfirmed bat-eared foxes in Addo Elephant National Park last week was the carbamate pesticide “methomyl”.

The initial count of 21 jackals and one crow on Sunday 10 August after the first reports of the dead animals by guests has increased as more and more carcasses are being discovered by the Park’s conservation staff.  The latest jackal was found as recently as yesterday, in the same concentrated area within the main game viewing area of the Park as the others.   Every conceivable effort has been made to try and find all the carcasses and any trace of the substance, but to-date only carcasses have been recovered.  Reports of two dead bat-eared foxes between Rooidam and Hapoor could not be confirmed. It is very possible that scavengers removed the carcasses before staff could find them.

Stomach samples were taken last week and sent to the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute outside Pretoria, which has since confirmed the presence of the methomyl in the samples.  Park management is concerned that the toxin can take between 45 and 90 days to break down, and as such could still be present in the Park, which could lead to the numbers increasing further.

SANParks’ Corporate Investigation Services unit is investigating the matter.  A case has been opened with the police.

AENP is the third largest national park and is home to the Big Five, including over 600 elephant.  Jackals play an important role in the park in terms of restoring the natural ecological processes through predation as a key means of conserving biodiversity.

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 082 888 0201

Fayroush Ludick
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks  
Tel:  082 888 0201



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