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Addo Elephant National Park celebrates 90th birthday

Staff at the the Addo Elephant National Park celebrate the big milestone on Saturday
MILESTONE MOMENT: Staff at the the Addo Elephant National Park celebrate the big milestone on Saturday

An elephant can live up to 70 years — and, most importantly, it never forgets.

That is what the Addo Elephant National Park hopes to provide for its guests — that they will not forget their experiences at the park and their interactions with its wildlife.

The Addo park, the third largest in SA, celebrated its 90th birthday on Saturday.

Though the lockdown regulations under level 4 prevented a big soirée with all the bells and whistles, there was excitement and jubilation nonetheless. 

To celebrate the momentous occasion, some of the staff gathered at the main gate with balloons for a quick celebratory photo shoot.

According to SANParks, the Eastern Cape park has grown exponentially since it was proclaimed in July 1931.

The park has gone from conserving the last 11 remaining elephants in the area on 4,500 hectares to now being home to more than 600 elephants.

A large diversity of other species and landscapes over 176,000 terrestrial hectares, as well as 114,000 marine hectares, make up the park’s Marine Protected Area.

SANParks spokesperson Fayroush Ludick said the park’s employees had been looking forward to celebrating the milestone with a big bash, but the pandemic dictated otherwise.

Ludick said Addo was still open to visitors under the lockdown regulations and that it was only the picnic spots that had been closed to discourage gatherings.

Visitors from SA and across the world took to Facebook to wish the park a happy birthday.

Writing from France, Laurence Freschi said he had visited Addo on many occasions when his family lived in Gqeberha for five years.

“The kids loved it! We have great memories there and cannot wait to go back,” Freschi wrote.

Anthony Adams said he has been visiting the park since the 1960s.

“It truly gets better every year.”

He said living close to Addo was a privilege because it meant that he could visit often.






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