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 pesticide known as methomyl.
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.
Addo is the third largest national park and is home to the Big Five, including over 600 elephant.
Addo is offering a reward of R10 000 to anyone who can provide information which will lead to the successful prosecution of the guilty party.
Anyone with information is requested to contact the Park’s Conservation Manager, John Adendorff, on 042 233 8606 oe 082 908 4160.