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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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While some animals will begin to wander further, most will not. There will not be any obvious effects other than the seasonal changes we notice now.

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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Sounds good to me and besides if it means it will bring back the herds and large prides I so long to see again in the KNP then Im game :) thanks eco

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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Dr. Tol Pienaar wrote about the period 1972-1973, many artificial water points were made available in the form of dams and water troughs at wind mills. These water points by far did not replace those natural water points lost due to circumstances outside their control due to extraction from perennial rivers or the building of walls and weirs upstream outside the western boundaries of the KNP in seasonal rivers and streams.

The water supply from sub surface water also reduced gradually due to desiccation. This was clearly visible at running fountains that over the years had either dried up or became very poor. He stated that the implications of the supply of artificial water points could only be speculated at that stage.

In order to be able to make scientific based decisions the decision was made that botanical surveys had to be carried out by suitably qualified botanists around the artificial supply points. 17 such survey areas were determined at varying distances from the Wik & Weeg dam in the Phugwane. The areas were permanently marked and complete surveys were done of all trees shrubs and grass.

The results of these surveys would then later be used to determine the effects of the artificial water point and the game utilization thereof on the surrounds.

Animal densities and their migration patterns in the area would also be determined.

The good rains of 1973-1974 summer for the first time in many years resulted in a winter with no crisis regarding water supply and forage for the herbivores. At the end of summer it was clear tat the luscious grass could give cause to a veld fire threat could arise during the first thunderstorms announcing the new spring. Many ring burns and firebreaks were burnt during autumn prevented these.

The good rains at the end of the last dry season together with the artificial water supply points resulted in the best well distributed water supply period in recent history. All the perennial rivers including the Letaba maintained their flow during the dry season. The pools of the seasonal and smaller rivers also offered their supply to the game in the area. Many of the old fountains again started flowing e.g. those as Baobab Hill, Shililani and Makhangala.

The Kanniedood Dam was completed during December 1974, after good rains in the spring of that year. Relatively low temperatures were maintained during the first half of the 1974-1975 season but a dry spell in January 1975 caused temperatures to rise and the resulting drying out of the veld created conditions for natural veld fires. Fortunately good rains followed in February and March; filling up every hollow, river and creek.

The Black Heron weir in the Letaba River was also completed on 1974 and soon filled up.

38 successful boreholes were sunk at the existing artificial water points during the period 1974 – 1975, mainly in the far northern areas of the Park. 14 new reservoirs were also completed during this period.

The good rains of 1974 – 1975 created good conditions for the Quelias and the Anopheles mosquito. Fortunately adequate measures prevented a repeat of the malaria outbreak experienced during the 1971- 1972 season.

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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 3:10 pm
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Thanks for the info it clarifies why some of the waterholes appeared to be dry.

:thumbs_up: I remember the terrible drought and the manmade waterholes have served a purpose... allow nature to take over


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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Quote:
.. allow nature to take over


I don't believe it is as straightforward as that MauPerks. To start with we have an enclosed system here. If water dries up, animals can no longer move to other areas where there is a better supply, other than within the boundaries of the park. Secondly, the quote below from GMLS' post indicates that the artificial water points were put in to replace some of the water lost for other reasons, and I'm sure that this aspect must still apply.

Quote:
These water points by far did not replace those natural water points lost due to circumstances outside their control due to extraction from perennial rivers or the building of walls and weirs upstream outside the western boundaries of the KNP in seasonal rivers and streams.


Closure of artificial water holes has to be done with caution and the situation monitored carefully. There are some scientific reasons for at least some of the closures. I suspect others may be financial.


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 Post subject: Re: KNP to demolish its artificial water holes
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:34 pm 
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From the Warden Col. J Stevenson Hamilton's annual report of 1925:

The present condition of all species is highly satisfactory. Neither the exceptional floods of the earlier, nor the prolonged drought of the later months of the year has had any bad effect upon breeding or condition.

In respect of lack of pasture, it is commonplace knowledge that game will grow fat where cattle starve, and the assertion that a good game country is necessary a good cattle country is not supported by facts.

The truth is that species has its own particular form of grass or herb which it favours; some animals are mainly or entirely browsers, other types mainly or entirely grazers, and every species has a particular kind of tree, bush, grass, or ground plant, which it prefers to all others, and which differs with different species. This disposes of the delusion not uncommonly held, and sometimes express affect that one type of wild animals, by increasing too much, may oust another and rarer species.

The fact of one species being common within a certain area, while another is rare, merely implies that the particular class of food is abundant or the reverse therein.

Had this not been the case, the animals congregating in large herds, usually the most numerous, would have ousted most of the others from the earth long before man took any part in disturbing balances; but on the contrary we know that when a country well stocked with wild animals is first seen by civilized man, all species teem in abundance, each in its favourite habitat, and this in spite of the multitudes of predatory carnivora which have long roamed unchecked.

Outstanding instances of the above are the High Veld of the Transvaal as it was first found by the Voortrekkers, and the Low Veld of the same country as existing on its first invasion by the white hunters, both at the time being, on account of prolonged native wars and raids, almost destitute of inhabitants, so that Nature had for a good many years been allowed unrestricted scope.

In my annual report of 1912, I attempted a very rough estimate of the number of game animals present in the Reserve. I have reason to believe that my calculations were then considerably under the mark, and since that time the total has increased at least fourfold, in spite of the fact that from 1914-1919, the large increase of poaching and of predatory animals caused increase to be less rapid than would otherwise have been the case.

Nevertheless, even now, there are areas wherein water exits in sufficient quantity to satisfy the not very exorbitant demands of the wild animals, and where pasture appears sufficient, which are not yet stocked to any extent, and we cannot be said to have yet attained to the faunal level of the less disturbed game countries of east and central Africa.

There is no doubt that the provision of adequate watering facilities by dams and boreholes in some of the more arid parts, especially north of the Letaba, would lead to a more even distribution of the various species, instead of, as now, having great masses congregated at the end of each dry season in such spots as may be most favourable for food and water, while very large areas are meantime destitute of all wild life.

There are, in fact, only few of the best stocked areas which are at present capable of providing the concentrated mass of wild animal life, necessary for the full interest and enjoyment of the general public. However, attractive to scientists, I do not think that the sight of a few isolated animals or herds of species however rare, would prove permanently so to the bulk of the public, and what should be aimed at is to show large quantities of very tame creatures, close to hand, displaying little or no fear at the presence of large numbers of human beings, and which need not be sought for painfully and with difficulty, but may be readily observed by the most inexperienced persons at any point of the area which they may choose to visit. With a continuance of the present system of preservation, and an extension of watering facilities, I make no doubt but that at their present rate of compound progression, the numbers and distribution of the animals may justify this ideal at no distant date.

I have been told by hunters who knew the district as long ago as 1880, which was before it had been very seriously exploited for hides and biltong, that game today is at least as numerous as it was then, and that the larger carnivore are much less in evidence.

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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