I was trying to make a simple example,
The rare antelope declined for many reasons, and I did not realize you were only talking in recent years Cheetah,
I am not talking within the last 3 years, rather 30 years.
You can not make any form of ecological comparison in an area like KNP in a 3 year time period.
however lets take this discussion up a notch.
The boreholes where introduced in the 60's, however many where closed some time back(mid 90's onwards).
My mistake was to say Wildebeest, rather than Zebra AND Wildebeest were the main culprit in upsetting the balance, however Zebra are closely associated with wildebeest in the KNP and there used to be a lot more up north due to the water holes.
Look at the population graph below, and compare Wildebeest and Zebra numbers.
This graph shows populations in the Eastern Mooiplaas area.(The area we are discussing)
At the same time that there where more mainstream"prey" species, there was also the main decline in Rare antelope.
This was in a large part due to increased lion numbers, and yes lions did move into areas they never occupied previously.
Prides will establish themselves in any favourable area, and one with food and water permanently is without a doubt favourable.
The Logic in this is simple and sensible.
You never used to easily see Tsessebe at one stage in the Mopani area (70's and 80's), or even Eland or Roan.
All of which now get regularly sighted around the S143 loop, and its water holes.
Shingwedzi for instance used to be considered a great place to view lions and you used to see plenty there, similar to Satara and Crocodile bridge areas in fact, but not anymore.
In the last 10 or so years, there have been very few Wildebeest in the north, and a lot fewer zebra.
Wildebeest are also notorious for fouling water troughs, another cause of rare antelope decline due to diseases and bacterias etc, which Roan especially are not very immune to.
Look at the poor rains in Kgalagadi around 5 years back where the eland came out the dunes and to the waterholes after winter to drink from the waterholes, the lions slaughtered them in there droves, as they are an easy target.
Same thing happened in Kruger due to there being to many waterholes.
You will see I did not advocate for all the waterholes to remain open, rather only some, and then also on a semi permanent basis, allowing the flora in the area to have rest periods, and not become denuded.
This would not allow lion prides to establish, or Zebra and wildebeest etc to become permanent in the area.
Closing all of them will also not help, due as I mentioned to the fencing of migratory routes.
Eland for instance in the KZN reserves of Umfolozi Hluhluwe are almost non existant due to them not being able to migrate to the berg areas in summer and they suffer from tick related illnesses etc in the summer.
I am sure a similar migratory route used to exist between the KNP Lowveld and the Drakensberg, Mozambique etc.
Some interesting reading, which may clarify my replies above, and also show that it will not do major harm to keep a few selected "Tourist friendly" Water points open, seen as the rare antelope species numbers are on the recovery.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 0798001207
To Quote some points from the above -
"Between 1986 and 1993, the roan antelope Hippotragus equinuspopulation in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, declined from about 450 to ca.45 animals. Data from long term monitoring of herbivore numbers, sex, age and herd structure and of vegetation condition, supported by spatial and demographic modelling and predator sighting records, were used to evaluate potential causes of the population decrease, including: (1) competition from zebra and wildebeest, which moved into the roan’s range after the introduction of waterpoints; (2) increased predation following the influx of zebra and wildebeest.The population crash was associated with an increase in adult mortality, but little apparent change in calf survival, suggesting that nutritional factors were not the prime cause.
Increased predation on adult roan due to a build-up in lion numbers, following the zebra and wildebeest influx, seemed to be the proximate cause of the initial sharp decline in the roan population.
However, the ultimate cause was the provision of numerous artificial water points in the roan range, which attracted the influx of zebra and wildebeest, particularly during drought conditions.
Following the closure of water points in a section of the roan range, the roan herds in the vicinity are recovering
. Deficiencies in current monitoring programmes in the Kruger Park are identified.
Graph showing the higher than average amounts of prey species in the Eastern Mooiplaas region which is of course the area in discussion,
You can see Wildebeest numbers dropped significantly after the borehole closures started happening in the early to mid 90's -http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/co ... .Water.pdfhttp://www.bwa.co.za/Articles/Borehole% ... 20Park.pdf