Kruger Park sets protocol for scattering of ashes

2013-11-04 00:00

SEVERAL gravestones and wooden caskets containing human ashes that had been placed without authorisation in the Kruger National Park, have been removed.

This follows an increasing trend where family members leave plaques, inscribed stones or caskets containing human ashes in the park at the behest of the deceased.

Sister paper Beeld recently found two such stones on the ring road near Pretoriuskop. Kruger Park’s management confirmed the situation was starting to get out of control.

The stones were for Nic and Kit Greyling, who died in 2009 and 2011.

Kruger Park spokesperson William Mabasa said the rangers had always been willing to allow family members to scatter the ashes of loved ones, but visitors were now starting to clutter popular viewing spots with reminders of the deceased.

Head of nature conservation Dr Freek Venter said it was only a problem to the park’s authorities when people did not seek permission when paying their last respects.

He said the park had in the past few years only received about five requests to scatter ashes.

He said more people were illegally placing memorial stones at well-known spots like Mathekenyane near Skukuza, and the viewing point on the H1-5 near Olifants camp.

Game rangers have removed all illegal plaques and caskets containing human ashes, and they are being kept in a safe storage facility.

Venter said that in the past the park had permitted private ceremonies for families wishing to scatter ashes, but as there were no longer enough game rangers to accompany groups getting out of their vehicles, the park now only allows ashes to be scattered.

Mabasa said memorial stones may not be placed or erected in the Kruger National Park.

People wishing to scatter their deceased’s ashes in the park can make application to the Kruger National Park, where game rangers will determine the correct procedures to follow.

Families wanting to recover removed stones and caskets from the Kruger National Park’s safe storage facility can contact Mabasa on 013 735 4363.

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