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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:29 pm 
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:lol: Welcome back all my "purist" friends to one thread! Nice seeing all together again! :twisted: :lol:

As long as you have elephants in that area which knocks down fences (nice photo of the river road BTW, I see the elephants were up to their old tricks with the fence), and as long as you have people who are dependent on cattle to make a living, you will have this challenge.

Option 1. Kill or remove all the cattle from the entire area (Including Zim and Botswana sections).
Option 2. Kill all the elephants or stop them from moving in and out of the park.
Option 3. Live within the realities of a non ideal situation, and manage it as far as possible.

As for throwing open the fences ... let's do the opposite. (Please take the following a bit tongue in the cheek.)

Put major elephant (and cattle) proof fences around every scrap of Mapungubwe! Problem solved! :thumbs_up:

:hmz: For about a month. :doh:

Then comes winter and the animals cannot reach the river ... let's put in water. Problem solved ... for a bit longer ... forgetting that you have cut out much of the prime riverine habitat (in which Zim cattle is still happily grazing) because floods will destroy the fencing.

Oh and we haven't learned the lessons from Kruger where we realised that even in a huge reserve like that, fences cut the natural migration routes which have been there for millennia. But that is not important, as long as we can keep the cattle out we have a pristine reserve.

Then we wake up and smell the coffee. :twisted:

I think that people involved in the parks and yes, the peace parks too, are quite open minded to the challenges of growing and creating new parks. It often entails working with the local populations and the challenges they pose.

Obviously having cattle roaming freely in a park is not the ideal situation. That is not what is happening in Mapungubwe either. Having them come across cattle fences broken by elephant is the price you pay given the realities of the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Imberbe,

None of your options address the truth around the cattle problem in Mapungubwe. As many of "non-purist' have remarked that herding cattle in that area is a tradition for more than 1000 years. One of the tradition of a cattle owner is that a herder follows the cattle and cattle do not move around on their own. Usually boys will be responsible for this duty, but nowadays they attend school, but the tradition still stays that a herder will be close to the cattle. Even some of our cricket players still had that duty when he was young so its not a tradition that was lost

The cattle in Mapungubwe NP are all branded and definitely chased into the park by a herder and not left to graze on their own, because the risk is too great to loose an animal. The riverine area are a great habitat for leopards and taking the meat price into account for beef the owner will make sure his cattle are protected. We found leopard spoor close to areas where cattle roamed.

The easiest way to get rid of cattle is to touch the pocket of the owner. Why can't the park rangers impound the cattle and give a fine. I can assure you the owner will avoid the park if this is done and will even come forward before the park takes the cattle away. Its not as if there is no areas to graze in Zim. I will not be surprise if this is not cattle from Zimbabwe but South-Africa.

Just before we come across a herd of cattle an elephant stormed into our direction, which was clear that some-one spooked the elie. I do not think it was the cattle as I've seen them walked between elephants and the only explanaition is the herder.

So before you even have to think of option 1, 2 or 3, get hold of the herder. He is not that far off and easily to find. Some-how he is not confronted other wise he would not have taken the liberty to chase the cattle as far as the turn-off to Shroda dam.

This is not an animal problem but a human problem so not that difficult to resolve. (Just dont replace all the animal names in your option by farmer/herder :twisted: )

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:43 pm 
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c. If the problem persists, i.e. animals repeatedly enter the KNP, the matter must be discussed by the section ranger and People & Conservation personnel with the traditional leaders and/or owner of the animals. A written warning must be issued to the owner that he/she will be charged with contravening the PAA and AHA, and that the animals may be destroyed. Only then can animals be destroyed and legal action be taken against the owner/s.


Best to report it to Mapunguwbe then.
If a owner does send his animals into the park its difficult to call them strays :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:43 pm 
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Just as an aside: Have you ever walked from the Limpopo to Schroda - not too difficult at all! :wink:

Some assumptions which are being made or insinuated:

1. The unseen herder spooked the elephant.
2. Rural people cannot have cattle which looks well or are of good stock.
3. So it must be SA cattle left there by some unnamed SA person.
4. This person obviously do not own his own farm, but is using the park as a farm.

So then the conclusion I am drawing from what I am reading is that you are saying that SANParks personnel are farming inside a national park. :hmz:

In fact "Eagle eye" even stated that in the first posting: "I suspect that the Zimbabwe ownership is partly true and probably a convenient smoke screen for the current managers of the reserve to run their own herds."

If you have that opinion, then I have to agree with Bert. Then it is important that you raise that with SANParks management. If the park is not interested, then with head office. Please also provide the "proof" you have available, or at least the reasoning why you make such assumptions if you have no proof.

It should be easily confirmed or dis-proven by confirming who the real owners are.

But I think the correct way to approach such a situation is not to speculate on it on the Forums, but to put your name to it in an official complaint to SANParks.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:11 pm 
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Hi Leadwood. Your reference to africa and grazing of cattle for thousands of years and that we visitors should not be wishing  the local people away was in deed thought provoking and there is a big part of me that is sensitive with this view. My issue has to do with the scenario of paying for a movie only to take ones seat and discover that there is a rock band in the same room competing for the same audience. As with predators and livestock the two are incompatible. It is important therefore to get the word out so that people who do not agree with this practice are informed and can exercise their options accordingly. 

I have experience with game farming and  have a reasonable eye for the quality of grazing and impact on the land. On Mapungubwe's Southern boundary  the grazing is at its healthiest in contrast to the Northern strip where the cattle & goats are concentrated, it is virtually non existent. I am confused that anyone would want to argue otherwise. 

It is common knowledge that predators take the path of least resistance in selecting the soft prey option. These would include sick, injured, young or even more tantalizing, a healthy domestic animal or unarmed human being on foot. As I mentioned before, the abundance of domestic animals suggests that the lions are meeting fierce resistance, hence their conspicuous absence.
 
On the home page of www.mapungubwe.com  in the opening paragraph it refers to "Big Five" as one of a handful of major attractions named as a hook to land tourists. There is no mention that this is half a cattle farm and this is grossly misleading.

I concur that fences are inappropriate along the river bank and I am confused as to the reason for their existence. Fences are not what determines whether or not domestic animals roam freely,  in this instance it is the people who own these animals who do. So back to my point of impounding and fining the owners when they arrive to claim their livestock. 

 I support the expansion of the migratory routes and the trans frontier proposal goes a long way to solving this. The endemic human population density is fairly low and the success of the park will require that these people are beneficiaries of its commercial success and they will be integrated, better off and not wished away. For the land utilization to be successful will require it to be either a Big Five reserve or a hybridized cattle farm. I suspect that the economic pendulum will swing in favor of the Big Five option. 

No I don't have proof that the cattle are owned by park employees. Their apparent lack of will to address the issue suggests that they may be complicit in the problem. If not, they are guilty of  gross negligence. It is their job to know that these cattle are depleting an already scarce food resource that negatively  impacts the game population in the park and nullifies the  Big Five reserve claim. 

The fact that this is happening and has been for a while, suggests that SANParks is not in the least bit concerned.  Will they even read my complaint? And if they do, will they act? I suggest NOT!

An informed public will exercise their options in terms of where they wish to spend their money. And if it is a remote cattle farm with some game that they seek, Mapumgupwe will be a preferred destination. 


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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:33 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:56 am 
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No one visits a National Park to view domestic stock.

The solution is to impound the animals and when the owner comes fetch them, he/she should be warned about trespassing animals and also warned that this is not permissible.

Next offence will result in a fine and after that confiscation!

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:56 am 
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The Management of Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site have great empathy with your frustrations as our valuable clients. Be assured that we as management we are equally, if not more, perturbed.

The park is being inundated with cattle crossing the Limpopo River from Zimbabwe and Shashe River from Botswana, thus impacting negatively on the ambience of the park. Suggestions to destroy these un-herded animals were perceived to be too harsh, as it is often the owner’s only source of income.


In essence, there is concerted efforts to establish a trans-frontier conservation area incorporating Botswana, Zimbabwe and of course, South Africa. The trilateral signing of this agreement is imminent and until that stage is reached several processes and management decisions is being weighed down.

The riverine fence is essential as well as red-line veterinary fence and, the discussed military fence, is in a state of disrepair. Management has not to date been given the mandate to remove these structures.

Impoundment of these animals is not practical as we do not have pounding structures, we will have to water and feed impounded animals and to the best of our knowledge, impoundment of animals from a foreign country have to be in a registered pound in close proximity to a border post. Clearly this is not the case at MPNP. Field rangers attempt to chase cattle and goats over the river on a regular basis.


On the positive side, we remain enthusiastic regarding the establishment of this transfrontier park and the many agreeable spin-offs this initiative will hold for the benefit of the park and nature conservation in general.

Please bear with us in this difficult phase of negotiations and be assured of our determined efforts to consolidate the many role-players towards reaching an amicable solution.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:03 am 
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Thanks, but what is SANParks going to do about this in future, allow this to continue or stop this.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:30 am 
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All these Management processes we have stipulated aim to stop the influx of cattle’s to the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Me again, when can visitors to Mapungubwe expect not to see livestock roaming in the Park. Unlike an earlier post that cattle in the Park is part of the Mapungubwe experience.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Hi Casius.

Thanks for your reply. Presumably you speak on behalf of SANparks.  

I don't think that the problem is difficult to solve, given that these animals are an asset to the owners and if they were not safe in the park, the owners would not allow them to wonder into the park. So the trick is to compromise the safety of the animals by confiscation or other means. So much money has  been spent on inefficient fences. A small kraal will do and feed can be brought in and financed via fines claimed from impounded cattle.

If it is true that there are lions in the park then the cattle must be protected by the owners who are probably armed and hiding in the bushes. Scary to say the least!!!

Grazing ones livestock on someone else's land is theft, in this case of the most valuable resource in the area next to water, feed!  People who are foolish to leave their property lying around deserve to have it stolen. I am not advocating theft but confiscation. 

I appreciate that it is a difficult problem to solve and that there are complications re impounding and so on. I detect your frustration  in the tone of your reply and have some empathy. Clearly this is  more complex than it appears from my perspective as a visitor to the reserve. It does require tough decision making. 

 I do recommend  that via your web site the public should be advised that there are cattle in the reserve so that they are informed. It will deter some from visiting but not all as evidenced by the participants of this thread. 

I look froward to the implementation of the trans frontier park. It will hopefully solve the problem. 


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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:56 pm 
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The MoU towards the TFCA at Mapungubwe was signed 5 years back and yet no treaty was signed. Will this dream ever come true? The fact that cattle are still found in the area means no plans have been made in the past 5 years to relocate the cattle and the electric fence donated is not working. :hmz: It will be interesting to get more feedback on progress so far to get the treaty in place and what solution / alternative will be given to the Maramani community so that their land can be incorporated into the park for game and not cattle.

See quote below from Peace Park Foundation for background on the process up to 2009.

Quote:
The Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in July 2003. Peace Parks Foundation, De Beers, the National Parks Trust and WWF-SA assisted SANParks by facilitating negotiations with landowners and buying up farmland to consolidate the core area of South Africa's contribution to the proposed TFCA.

The 30 000 ha Mapungubwe National Park was officially opened on 24 September 2004. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards the TFCA's establishment was signed on 22 June 2006 and an international coordinator was appointed. Since then, a strategic plan for the TFCA's development has been drafted to determine a vision and mission, long-term goals, objectives and actions.

On 19 June 2009, Limpopo/Shashe was renamed the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA. The Ministers of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe announced the new name at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers where the three countries meet. The Ministers said the decision to change the name of the TFCA was based on the need for a name that accurately reflected the uniqueness of the TFCA, adding that the name Greater Mapungubwe was preferred because all three countries had sites called Mapungubwe.

On the same day, Peace Parks Foundation handed over an electric fence worth R250 000 to the Maramani community of Zimbabwe to help deter stray elephants from destroying crops in the Shashe irrigation scheme.

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:40 pm 
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gmlsmit wrote:
Me again, when can visitors to Mapungubwe expect not to see livestock roaming in the Park. Unlike an earlier post that cattle in the Park is part of the Mapungubwe experience.


No one said that gmlsmit. Please read again. :naughty: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: PREDATORS VS CATTLE
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:18 am 
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This topic is about cattle in Mapungubwe.

Quote "To me the cattle in the river is a part of the character of Mapungubwe".

May not be exactly what had been posted but quite close.

To just kindly clear my misunderstanding the above quote - do you then agree that stray cattle should not be allowed in a National Park, and if this happens the required preventative action should be taken.

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