KNP Elephant Management

siml

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I received this email this morning, I have highlighted in red the part that is truly amazing to me.

Hello everybody.
Today we invite you to investigate and read this first of our special two-part series of blogs on Elephant Management in Kruger National Park.
The first part is an 8 blog exposé on our website/blog written by our CEO, Ron Thomson.
Get to know the astounding facts about Kruger's culling era (1967-1994) and inform yourself about how responsible and practical wildlife managers determine the elephant carrying capacities of game reserve habitats; and what happens when important environmental indicators are misread.
Learn also how national park ecosystems collapse and biological diversities crash, when well-meaning wildlife management programmes are not followed through because of animal rightist anti-elephant- culling pressure.
The worse scenario of all is when government ministers and national park authorities cow-tow to animal rightist demands - and this is precisely what happened in South Africa during the early years of this millennium. It is time, the public - if it really loves our wildlife - comes to realise that animal rightists are not wildlife management experts, and they are not our wildlife's friend.
They are eco-racketeers who make hundreds of millions of US dollars out of every wildlife crisis that 'they' purposefully contrive with their propaganda. Their doctrine is pernicious. So be wise, make yourself properly informed, and don't accept everything that you read in the newspapers.
The author expresses his strong view that if a massive elephant population reduction exercise is not instituted in Kruger National Park very soon, it will be too late to save the once renowned biological diversity of this one-time great game reserve - which is racing towards its final and inevitable fate...that of becoming a desert.

In the second part of this series - also by Ron Thomson - the blogs will discuss the elephant management programme that is in operation in Kruger National Park today.
This is an untried experiment that is backed by IFAW (The International Fund for Animal 'Welfare" - which is not an animal “welfare” organisation at all. In reality, IFAW is the biggest animal 'rights' organisation in the world).
This elephant management programme openly repudiates, and replaces, the 'old fashioned' method of man-managed elephant population regulation - culling (because it was, supposedly, so cruel!!!) - with an idea that rests on the dubious belief that elephants can and will control their own numbers, 'naturally', if they are left alone to their own devices.
To work in any kind of dimension at all, the new elephant management plan for Kruger requires that all the elephants in the park be subjected to a massive starvation regime.

It seems to matter not at all to those who devised this diabolical plan, that all the other animals in the park are concomitantly subjected to similar levels of starvation, too. The facts, as they will be presented to you, will leave you aghast. It is incredible that any self-respecting scientist could ever support such a programme’s abject cruelty - let alone plan that it should happen, and it is unbelievable that he (they) so totally disregard the devastating effect it is having on the national park's biological diversity.

You are welcome to pass on all this information about the Kruger National Park to your friends and family. This subject is close to all our hearts.
 

IvW

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The bottom line is that Kruger(any wildlife area or park for that matter) has a limited carrying capacity. It is way over it's carrying capacity probably 2.5 times. It needs to be managed by means of human intervention(read-HUNTING or culling). The amount of money that can be generated for conservation will be astounding. The current damage to the biodiversity is having devastating effects on the other species.

Unfortunately the powers in charge are influenced in the wrong direction. "all the elephants in the park be subjected to a massive starvation regime."
What a bunch of idiots!!

Botswana has made the same fatal mistake!
 

jasyblood

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This is unbelievable and I can't imagine that anyone would seriously consider this as a means of population reduction/control.

Idiots.....
 

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....regime.... That word probably explains a lot!
 

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Very interesting read Simon. I have seen the destruction around Kruger National park first hand. Frankly I was amazed at how few trees were actually standing in the area I hunted. Elephant eat them. First the leaves then the limbs, then the bark around the trunk. Finally they push the tree over to get what was left at the top.
I look forward to reading the rest of this blog Simon!
 

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Ron Thomson has been on this subject for a long time and he is so dedicated about it. It is very interesting to read and I try to use his facts when I talk about the conservation and how we, humans, need to interfere and manage the correct way, without prejudice of how cute the animal is.
We need to get this message out, outside our normal discussions and to our non hunting friends and families, to CNN, FOX, NY Times etc.

Such an important lesson to learn and to act on.

If/when such a culling project would start there would be a huge need for logistics for meat, skin, ivory etc. Lots of work for many people.
Not an easy task to perform in any means.

//Gus
 

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500 a year for twenty years would get the population back to a reasonable number! It should be done through sold hunts in order to fund conservation efforts. Imagine the good that could be accomplished if only the management of the herd was done by real conservationist! 500 reasonably priced elephant hunts a year in the Kruger Park with a tag fee going to the park. Can you say Rhino protection patrols every night and day in every section of the park.
I have posted the picture above before here on AH. It's five teenage bulls stripping the bark from one of the few remaining larger trees in the area I was hunting. Much of the area looks like waste land! I am told that the Okavango Delta looks worse.....much worse.....because there are too many elephants.

image.jpg
 
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Brent in Az

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Sounds like some hunters need to thin the herd.

But according to the Anti's, Elephants are on the verge of extinction....yeah right!
 

cls

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The bottom line is that Kruger(any wildlife area or park for that matter) has a limited carrying capacity.
There you have it, the two magical words "Carrying Capacity". I happen to teach conservation education and every one of these clowns should have to take a course to understand carrying capacity and what influences that carrying capacity. Once the carrying capacity has been exceeded the only natural control is starvation and disease, not a pretty sight. Culling isn't pretty either but at least the animals can be used rather than going to waste. How long do they think that it will take the park to return to it's natural state once the elephants die off??????
 

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The IFAW has PARTNERED with
Conservation Ecology Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, South Africa.

South African Journal of Science 102, September/October 2006
Conservation science and elephant management in southern Africa
R.J. van Aarde*† , T.P. Jackson* and S.M. Ferreira*


One of the quotes that was quite telling

"These opinions underlie a fundamental problem with past management practices — the dogma of running conservation areas as isolated reserves and managing populations as closed-off entities."

Elephants a way forward. IFAW and CERU
"The dogma of wildlife management and carrying capacity"o_O
"Agricultural logic dominated the early days of wildlife management. Many managers at the time believed that wildlife numbers had to remain below the limits dictated by the land. They called this ‘carrying capacity’ and thought that numbers would only stray beyond this level when the natural balance was disrupted. Managers became the keepers of this balance and whatever they perceived as threatening this balance had to be controlled. Logic therefore dictated that numbers had to be reduced to keep nature in balance."


You should all be very scared.:eek:
These animals rights folks are SPONSORING "research" and "partnering" with Universities to create articles that support their "vision".
If Conservationists don't wake up they are going to be washed aside.
 

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IvW

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500 a year for twenty years would get the population back to a reasonable number! It should be done through sold hunts in order to fund conservation efforts. Imagine the good that could be accomplished if only the management of the herd was done by real conservationist! 500 reasonably priced elephant hunts a year in the Kruger Park with a tag fee going to the park. Can you say Rhino protection patrols every night and day in every section of the park.
I have posted the picture above before here on AH. It's five teenage bulls stripping the bark from one of the few remaining larger trees in the area I was hunting. Much of the area looks like waste land! I am told that the Okavango Delta looks worse.....much worse.....because there are too many elephants.

View attachment 177071

Yip, just as an example, the tree in the picture is probably a Knob thorn, utilized by many other species, birds included, by now it has fallen over and benefits none. Below some info on this species one of thousands being devastated by the over population of elephants.

Knob-Thorn Tree

Acacias are a genus of pod bearing trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae in the family Fabaceae, the third largest family of flowering plants in the plant kingdom. The genus Acacia is mainly found in Africa and Australia, with Australian acacias generally being thornless, and the African acacias having stipular spines or recurved thorns. The Knob-thorn tree (Acacia nigrescens) forms part of this ecologically important thorn-tree family. The name is derived from the Greek words ‘ακις’ (akis,) meaning a point, spike or barb and the Latin word nigrescans meaning ‘becoming black’ – which refers to the pods which turn very dark as they ripen.



The Knob-thorn is a slow-growing, medium to tall tree reaching heights of between 8 – 20 metres. It is found growing from the wooded grasslands of the lowveld in Southern Africa to as far north as Tanzania, surviving in many different soil types. The tallest trees of this species are always found on flood plains. The Knob-thorn has a straight, upright trunk, with ascending branches forming a rounded canopy that spreads with age. The bark is dark and thickens, forming knobs several millimetres apart equipped with small black hooked thorns. These thorny knobs are prominent on the newer branches of mature trees and on the trunks of young trees, offering some protection against browsing animals such as elephants. The knobs are very conspicuous, making the Knob-thorn tree easy to identify.

The Knob-thorn is a deciduous tree, being leafless in winter. Between August and November the tree flowers. What begins as 70-100mm long elongated spikes of buds at the end of branchlets in the canopy, finally turns into scented creamy-white pom poms of flowers, totally transforming the tree. Rounded, butterfly-like double compound leaves, the largest in any of the acacia species, form in late spring. The Knob-thorn bears fruit from January to July; long, thin pods which are initially a reddish-purple colour darkening to a dark brown. These pods fall to the ground before splitting open.



Although the Knob-thorn is very thorny, it is a highly nutritious tree, with the thorns merely limiting the amount of time animals feed on it.

Animals such as kudu, elephant and giraffe browse the leaves, baboons and vervet monkeys eat the flowers and pods. Besides the leaves, elephants also eat the roots and inner bark.



It is known that elephants sometimes feed on the bark for its natural healing properties in fighting tooth decay. Unfortunately, in pulling this toothache remedy off the tree, the elephants sometimes ring-bark the tree, which may eventually kill the Knob-thorn. Should these trees be pushed over by elephants they will seldom re-grow.

Giraffes have a very unique relationship with this acacia species – it is believed that they pollinate the trees.

The Knob-thorn is the first tree to bloom in spring, a time when food is scarce. The giraffe, with its long neck, has the ability to eat high up into the canopy, and while doing so rubs the flowers, collecting pollen which it delivers from tree to flowering tree. About 40% of the giraffe’s diet is foliage from the Knob-thorn tree, and in areas where these animals are found, the tree canopy develops an umbrella shaped browse line.

The Knob-thorn tree can tolerate drought, but it is very sensitive to frost. Hole-nesting birds make their homes in its thorny trunk and white-backed vultures tend to nest in its branches when the trees grow close to rivers. There are many commercial, medicinal and traditional uses for the hard, durable, fire-resistant and termite resistant Knob-thorn wood.
 

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Philip Glass

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Fact is that elephants can out compete and out walk (from water) all other animals in their environment. They will and do devastate the ecology. Elephants are one thing and one thing only and that is natures bulldozer.
These animal welfare people are Preservationists not Conservationists. Preservationists believe in a hands off approach to wildlife. They actually must be committed to an insane asylum because this is the stupidest idea ever conceived.
We hunters are Conservationists. We believe in management and care for the ecosystem and yes that includes killing lots of animals to conserve the ecosystem!
Regards,
Philip
 

BRICKBURN

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Someone needs to tell the nutters that it is not a democracy, it is our bloody job to manage it.
Get on with your job.
 

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I no longer use "animal rights" to describe or refer to any anti group or individual. For anything at all for that matter. That turn of phrase is a great lie and full of deceit. Animal extremists is accurate and truthful. The outdoor industry as a whole needs to stop promulgating that myth in word and print, and call it what it is. Animal extremism
 

petrusg

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This is shocking! How could the Head rangers at the park ever agree to such cruel and outright stupid way of treating the problem? These animal activists never fail to amaze me! they should be culled to better the human population.
 

siml

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I would say culling is the only solution, I don't think selling tags to hunt in the KNP would be a viable solution. I was in discussions years ago about culling in the KNP, they would only be able to shoot 3 elephants a day, that is the most the canning plant would be able to process a day.
 

Lrntolive

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Fact is that elephants can out compete and out walk (from water) all other animals in their environment. They will and do devastate the ecology. Elephants are one thing and one thing only and that is natures bulldozer.
These animal welfare people are Preservationists not Conservationists. Preservationists believe in a hands off approach to wildlife. They actually must be committed to an insane asylum because this is the stupidest idea ever conceived.
We hunters are Conservationists. We believe in management and care for the ecosystem and yes that includes killing lots of animals to conserve the ecosystem!
Regards,
Philip
I completely agree Philip. Preservationists will end up destroying ecosystems. By the very definition of preservation, where do you tend to find things that are preserved?

Museums and antique shops, where everything is dead.
 

IvW

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I would say culling is the only solution, I don't think selling tags to hunt in the KNP would be a viable solution. I was in discussions years ago about culling in the KNP, they would only be able to shoot 3 elephants a day, that is the most the canning plant would be able to process a day.

In northern Kruger’s Makuleke Contractual Park. The name is relatively new, and you may know it better as Pafuri – the narrow strip of land at the very top of Kruger, right on the border with Zimbabwe. They did throphy hunting there from 1998 and 2003, sadly as far as I know this has now been stopped and this practice is restricted to areas north of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe, and west of Kruger in Makuya Game Reserve.

Kruger is huge and hunting with the right planning could easily be introduced in the areas not open to the public. They have been culling(basically shooting and leaving) buffalo for some time now. We could learn a lot from Zim but we don't.

This alone will not stop the population explosion and some form of culling and utilization will need to also be implemented. The money generated from hunting could fund the building of a new state of the art processing faculty after just one season. Where there is a will there is a way.

When the old culling program was in place elephant numbers where always kept at about 7000 which is widely regarded as the parks carrying capacity for elephants. The main challenge would be to get the numbers back down to 7000(currently about 22000), once they reach that then it would be manageable to maintain it.

Don't see this happening though.
 

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I would say culling is the only solution, I don't think selling tags to hunt in the KNP would be a viable solution. I was in discussions years ago about culling in the KNP, they would only be able to shoot 3 elephants a day, that is the most the canning plant would be able to process a day.

Ok so there 365 days in a year! Take off weekends at the canning facility that leaves 261 days then maybe a couple weeks of vacation and holidays and you have around 250 days at 3 elephants a day and you got 750 elephants possible capacity a year. So why wouldn't tags and hunting work? Hunted and paid for elephants taken from the herd adds funds to the running of the park. It also brings in a lot of hunters who spend their money in the country. Seems to me the Park has some 4 million acres to support many hunting parties each day.
In addition if the canning facility can only process three elephants a day add another shift and employ more people.
If authorities become determined to lower the numbers slowly over the course of several years ......then it could be organized in a manner that produced results.
Now we all know the antis would throw a fit as this process developed but they would throw a fit when whole groups of elephant were culled from the air too.
 
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