BUT - Questions come to mind now:
1) What of the Hippo Population living/ lived in dam? Are they culled? Left to their own fate?
2) The pressure on other water points in the area that we general public have access to is going to be incredible... what of the Nthandanyati waterhole where the hide is... Already teeming with Hippo?
3) I agree with Bucky... what of Duke Waterhole now... or are we going to see these herds we used to see disappear over the hills to the dams on the border and in the Private concession in the area?
This area was known for its high Zebra and Giraffe populations,especially in birthing season, and there is the Big "Seven" regulary seen.
So basically, can some-one tell me if this particular area is going to become a "wash-out" for game concentrations/ game viewing, if the one larger water supply source is removed and not replaced?
4) What of the other Seasonal dams - Transport dam for example, is this problem there also?
Will be intersesting to see the changes over next few Months.
(Yes Stoffel - Orpen not quite the same without Rabelais dam!
Our Conservation Services department has convinced me that the breaching of the dam was the best option. To chemically treat the dam has certain challenges, least of which would have been to fence the dam off to allow the chemicals to work. In the KNP, fences don't really cut it (with five ton fence breakers walking around) so we needed a solution to the problem, and fast. To date, we have lost more than 60 animals (11 white rhinos, two lions, two cheetahs, a number of zebras, a number of wildebeest and other species) and it needed immediate action.
I will try and answer some of your questions you raise:
1) As what happened after the first spate of deaths, the hippos will probably move off to other water sources;
2) We did not notice the "pressure" building up at the other water points in 2005. Just to be devils advocate here, I wonder what the pressure looked like BEFORE this man made dam was built?
3) The dam in the Mpanamana Concession is also being investigated for the same reason. Remember SANParks still has environmental management duties in concession areas. And also, we are trying to encourage that system of natural migratory routes rather than providing artificial water points;
4) We have also picked up Microcystis algae
at Sunset Dam and are monitoring the situation there carefully.
Remember that KNP is here for biodiversity conservation and we as SANParks have taken the approach of adaptive systems management when it comes to veld management. This might mean that certain things might come and go but our decisions have to always be in the interests of biodiversity management. We try and accommodate the interests of guests as far as possible (ie very few of the boreholes close to tourist roads have been closed) but there will be times and actions that tourist attractions might suffer in the interests of biodiversity management.