Out of curiosity, is it doable to hunt the required number of animals in this area? For example 500 in a year? How will the animals react to being hunted at this intensity? Or will it have to be "industrial" culling?
Can you imagine!
The thing is authorities should look for ways to do what us right while at the same time achieving the greatest good from the elephant herd management. Simply going out with machine guns mounted on helicopters and shooting 100 a day to rot in the sun is not what I would call best use.
So issue ten times the number of tags/permits for elephant around the park and begin aggressively reducing the numbers first.
Captstick has a good section on elephant culling in Death in the long grass. The way they culled was to eliminate a family group of up to 16 (from memory). All elephants shot, calves included. It sounded very dangerous. I can't see hunters paying to shoot calves and young elephants.
This sounds great in theory, but is it realistic? How else besides culling would you actually accomplish herd management? My numbers may be off here, but as I recall KNP carrying capcity is somewhere around 7000, with current population around 17000 give or take. So.... that's 10000 animals killed just to get back in line.
Best use to me in this case would be to ensure KNP remains "best use" for the elephants and all of the other animals that would end up starving and all of the habitat that would be lost due to devastation from the elephants. There simply aren't enough hunters to do the job, nor is it logistically something that could be easily done. The elephants won't all stay on the road to be shot for a nice easy and economical recovery.
Again, I think this sounds great in theory, but isn't realistic, not for population control. Current CITES export for elephant from SA is 300. Let's make it 3000 for argument sake. Even if every hunter will shoot three elephants that's 1000 hunters per year. Doesn't sound realistic to me... CITES won't increase 10x though and we all know that without the ability to import many hunters have zero interest in hunting an animal (sadly in my well known opinion on the subject). And to make it "worse" you need to cull more than trophy bulls of course, so you need to find hunters willing to kill cows too.
Hunting definitely has its place in conservation, a large place. But, it isn't the solution everytime and every place. This is one time, in my opinion, where the issue is too big for hunters alone.
The problem with elephants is one of logistics.... Too many in one area and not enough in another. We could have the same conversation with Hwange.
Like you said Charlie, this is great conversation.
Royal I am not suggesting all the culling or hunts have to be done at once. The build up to the current numbers happened over time. Years RIGHT?
I'm sure you recognize that not all hunts are exported today so the CITES limits do not have to come entirely into play here.
The real problem for RSA elephants today is the Kruger area! So if the CITES limit is 300 .......ok then 250 hunts in the Kruger area
I do lean towards it being a major part of what needs to be done. Hunting some of the elephants in my opinion would limit at least some of the waste that would come from just culling.
The year I hunted ,2015, I read an opinion somewhere, and now I don't have it, that said 500 culls a year for twenty years would bring the herd back to manageable levels
Royal you make a great point about there not being enough hunters to do the job alone. I agree. But at what hunt price point does hunter interest increase? Let Marketing and the laws of supply and demand take over. Large supply lower cost can increase people's interest. Seen any good deals on new pickup trucks advertised lately? Ha! Somewhere there is a point of equilibrium where supply and price intersect.....where you can sell all the supply. One doesn't know where that is until YOU TRY to set the price.
Realistically, I doubt anything gets done about the situation anytime soon....so in the meantime intensified hunting to whatever degree, anything, in the park or around it.....would begin to lessen the severity of the problem.
I will get off my soap box now!