Seven young elephant bulls spent several days wandering outside of Kruger National Park (KNP) in the vicinity of the Crocodile River in mid September. They were chased back into the park by a helicopter hired by Mpumalanga Parks' Board (MPB) officials.
Sources estimate that in the last month, at least four such herding exercises have been carried out by the MPB. In the same period, Kruger staff have also returned elephants to the park with their own helicopter.
The elephant breakouts occur more commonly in the winter months, but also happen in summer, especially if the water in the Crocodile River is low. Fruiting marula trees are a common summer attraction.
The elephants cause problems when they travel either north or west into villages near Kruger. Villagers going to work on foot while it is still dark are the most at risk from elephant encounters.