Garden Route residents can be proud to have the only elephants in South Africa that are not ‘kept in’ by a fence! If the elephants in Knysna’s forest wanted to walk in and join the town’s festivities, then they could simply head towards town! Every other elephant in South Africa is bound within a fenced area of some sort, either small or very large. The elephants in our forest are Loxodonta Africana (African elephants) and not Loxodonta Cyclotis (Forest elephants), as some have been led to believe. These African elephants have learnt to live in the forest, and learnt to keep shy of human activity. National Parks representatives are not denying that there could be more than one elephant in the forest, although they consistently reiterate that they have only identified one elephant by photograph. Researchers collected DNA from dung samples (2006) and claim to have identified five individual females. Reliable sources have identified spoor of more than one elephant. So for now we can argue that there is more than one elephant in the forest.
Very interestingly, every year runners doing the Oyster Festival 21km and 42km marathons report seeing dung along the side of the road. Surely that is enough proof for us … (or is that a result of too much pre-race carbo-loading??)