KNP Elephant Management

petrusg

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This is a really interesting read!
 

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@CAustin , I agree money could be generated by hunters. To me the KNP is an iconic area, a special conservation area, unique. The KNP has always had more than enough money in the past to operate. I as a professional hunter would be against commercial hunting in KNP, just imagine how the anti-hunting world would take it. Roughly 1 800 000 visitors a year , average of nearly 5000 visitors a day. Have one wounded elephant running around and all hell will break lose. Culling would be the effective tool. You right they would need to improve the canning process.
 

GuttormG

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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?
 

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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?

Why not possible? The place is 4 million acres. Furthermore, many elephants transit the park borders and are found outside the park each and every day.
So why not set aside time for hunting and time for the photo visitors......not having both at the same time and place in the park.
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.
 

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They need to start culling in the north end of the park. The waterholes they've dug there have drawn more in and destroyed the original long grass habitat. The roan and tsessebie are almost extinct there now
 

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Charlie, the people that started the KNP had a vision, it would be an area where animals are protected, not hunted. If they cross out of the boundary, then hunt them. Yes, the elephant are a problem, culling is the solution.
 

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Can you imagine!


How would it be any different then a kruger elephant that left the park and was wounded outside the park and went back in to the park. Still a wounded elephant that could be a problem.

If we believe all we talk about as hunting is conservation then hunting the park is just a tool to raise money and help the problem. Culling equals dead animals still just nothing else much gained from it. I would bet of all the people who visit that park to tour are mostly people that are ok with hunting. The few who may not go to the park because they left some hunting would be more then made up for with the money made on hunting extra animals needing to be taken off.

Kruger is big enough that hunting could be done away for the touring people and if done off peak season would not be that bad.

Just My thoughts.
 

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@billc , if it was wounded outside the park, parksboard could shift the blame. I would take a thumb suck, at least 50% of visitors against hunting.

Would you even class it as hunting or shooting???? One day the animals walk around cars, next day they get a bullet???

Elephants that cross out of the park, know they in a danger area, that's why often they go into crops at night.
 

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Simon not have ever seeing kruger I don't know how all the animals act. From some of the videos I have seen not all the animals are people friendly. I just think it should be looked over by a few people who know and decide what would be best all around. That is what helps the animals the most by money being raised in the best way.

Yes you can pass blame if it was shot outside the park but do you think any anti will care.

I would not judge anyone who would hunt the park as it not being a hunt but hey I only do the easy Sa fenced hunts now. I look at it like culling say even 100 ele. Normally pay cull hunter to do at a cost. Then say just even selling 10 ele hunts in the area at 40,000. Which would help the most. I think 400,000 would go a long way in Africa and more could be done.

I just think with the right people involved there is more then one option of just culling them.
 

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If we believe all we talk about as hunting is conservation then hunting the park is just a tool to raise money and help the problem. ....

You won't mind a few other uses of the park: Mining, Forestry and Grazing.
 

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Simon this is a very good discussion! I understand your points and appreciate you passion for the intended purpose of the park. Visions sometimes change due to circumstance and that isn't always bad. I think we all can agree that the management of the elephant herd has been botched in the last decade or so and requires intervention in some fashion or another. In my mind culling is appropriate, however the waste entailed is just short sighted. Animals killed and left to rot is not the best use of a valuable resource. The decision makers should consider all options to alleviate the excess population. So issue ten times the number of tags/permits for elephant around the park and begin aggressively reducing the numbers first. I just think something should be put to use from the animals that must be removed. If conservation funding can be generated through hunting the animals then it should be done, be that inside or outside the immediate park boundaries. I have no idea how much an elephant permits costs in South Africa but you do. I don't know how that money is used either but it seems to me that there could be additional tariffs placed on a Kruger area hunt that would benefit operations there in the park. Three, four or five hundred hunts a year with a special use tariff applied could fund great work and improvements in the crown jewel of South African parks.
Anyway I for one hope the over population can be resolved and in a manner that benefits all.......the wildlife in the park, picture tourists and the hunting community.
 

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You won't mind a few other uses of the park: Mining, Forestry and Grazing.

Not sure any of those have anything to do with conservation.
 

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Charlie, good points, I guess the one solution is the canning needs to be upgraded.

Bill, they have been trying to get mining permits for the knp for years, luckily without success, one mine could pay all the costs of knp.

You open commercial hunting in knp and you will open a whole new can of worms..... The anti's will be on it like a bomb, and then it will spill over to all forms of money. Their propaganda is much better than hunters, they will generate millions of dollars from showing hunting in knp.
 

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Not sure any of those have anything to do with conservation.

Consumptive use of renewable resources inside a Park.
Trees, Grass, Elephants, etc.

Non renewable:
Minerals, oil, etc.

Are hunters more special than Foresters or Grazers?

The point: Where is the line?
 

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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.

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.

So issue ten times the number of tags/permits for elephant around the park and begin aggressively reducing the numbers first.

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.
 

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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.
 

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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.

Exactly....

And I don't think that many (meaning any who support culling) would argue that taking out family groups when possible is both ffective and better for elephants.
 

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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? With the power of antis out there I doubt we will see massive culling operations undertaken.....that's just not realistic given the current animal rights environment. 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. If elephants have to be killed, and they do, what does it matter who does the killing and if some conservation funds are derived from it. 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! Some hunts would be non exportable hunts like they are now and I'm sure those could be cows at a vastly lower price. My mentioning 10x the number of current hunts really referenced my understanding of the number of permits available in and around the Kruger area the year I hunted my elephant. I could have explained that better. I have no idea what the permit numbers are today or what the authorities plan in the future. Suffice it to say that with the current situation they could and should be increased considerably.

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. We already know what the supply is......10,000 elephants. I can see where someone on a buff hunt in the greater Kruger area could possibly add a cow elephant, non exportable, for the price of another buff.

To your point Royal I am not suggesting that hunting the over population is the only answer. That is NOT realistic as you say, NOR is it my position to be CLEAR. However, 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. Sorry I can not quote chapter and verse of the published opinion or by whom it was written but it was from some biologist ......who by the way never mentioned hunting as a tool to achieve the end result in KNP. He thought only of culling as the tool.

I guess at the end of the day I despise waste. In particular the waste of any animal. In my business I have spent the last thirty years trying to find ways to say YES to people......in other words finding solutions to problems. Sometimes finding solutions to difficult problems requires thinking outside the box. Culling the KNP elephant herd all at once isn't going to happen. Can anyone imagine 10,000 dead elephants including calfs scattered all around the park? Talk about antis loosing their SHIT....let them drive up on 20 or 30 dead elephants and start taking pictures of that. Really I don't think culling operations would last very long once the word got out no matter what the number was. I think that is part of the worry for the Nature Conservancy authorities even now. 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!
 

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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?

Didn't think that you were Charlie. My point was that hunting alone can't do the job. There aren't enough elephant hunters, regardless of supply.

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.

Of course. I'm one of them. I doubt I will ever hunt an exportable bull even if I'm ever lucky enough to hunt elephant. Lots of folks do require this though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you've stated you wouldn't have hunted one if you couldn't import the ivory.

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

Problem is this doesn't do much to help. Remove 250 a year and the population keeps growing. I think naturally elephants double in population even 10 years or so, meaning a 1.5% annual population reduction won't even be close to break even.

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.

See above. It would be a minor part... I totally agree with you on the waste. It should be minimized as much as humanly possible. It may not be humanly possible.

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

That math doesn't add up. 10000 animals culled over 20 years doesn't account to for the birth rate. Population would still grow.

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.

This is the most interesting part to me. Would there ever be enough demand to fill the supply, even at a low cost? A profit still has to be made by the outfitter. Tell me this - if you got to SA this summer and Pieter told you he had tags for $1000 an ele and no increase in day rates how many elephants would you shoot? Would you pass on all other animals and just shoot every elephant you saw for 10 days? And then as a businessman would Pieter want you to hunt $1000 elephant instead of $1800 Kudu?

I'm not trying to make a point other than it would probably take a deal like that to get enough demand moving and decrease the herd. Not an easy answer here anywhere...

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.

Sadly, you're spot on... Too much politics to actually do what's right!

Your post makes some really good points Charlie. I'm playing Devils advocate to some degree here and driving the point that hunting alone can't control the population in Kruger. Now hunting to fund culling? To your point, outside of the current box thinking must be used.

I will get off my soap box now!

Nah... Good stuff. :)
 

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