Are there any elephants in the Knysna Forests?
After the Europeans arrived, the elephant population went in to steady decline. There may have been 400-500 here in the 1850s but a devastating fire in 1869 denuded much of the forest and killed many animals. With the added effects of the ivory trade and hunting, in 1914 it was believed that the population had been reduced to a mere eight. It has teetered on the edge of extinction ever since and although sightings were rare and the forest guards continued to pick up signs of elephant activity, it was believed it was just the one specimen left, a lone female with one broken tusk. She is the first in our picture gallery.
Then in 2007, a DNA analysis of dung deposits suggested that there were five females roaming the Knysna Forest. So it seems that there may be a glimmer of hope for the survival of the elusive Knysna elephants.
But if you want to see some of these magnificent animals in their natural habitat, the Knysna Elephant Park is only 22 km on from Knysna towards Plettenberg, which is where the other two pictures were taken.