Investigations had thus far revealed that “several shots were fired before the elephant was successfully brought down”.
Balule said it had since taken statements from four eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the shooting from a viewing deck.
“Contrary to news media reports, there is no allegation or proof of the use of alcohol by the hunting party before the hunting incident. We have a statement from an independent observer who was at the scene shortly after the incident, who has testified under oath to the sobriety of the hunting party,” the reserve said.
It highlighted, however, that these were not poachers.
“The hunt was legal, and we have verified all permits. Our investigation relates to possible contravention of APNR trophy hunting protocol and ethical practice,” Balule said.
The SA National Parks (SANParks) on Thursday condemned the incident.
Kruger National Park (KNP) was notified about the incident by the chairperson of the reserve, said its managing executive Glenn Phillips.