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True, False, Fact or Myth? (RV)

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Jock
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Unread postby Jock » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:26 am

Ah, playing with words hay Loams, you got me hook line and sinker.

Well this one is a guess, I would say false
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Loams
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Unread postby Loams » Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:32 pm

Tsk, Tsk

The answer is true. The second biggest Wildebeest migration in the world is in Botswana. Of course there are some zebra involved as well. Unfortunately, the Botswana (Or English colonisers??) government put up cattle fences all over, and hundreds of thousands of migrating Wildebeest and Zebra die at the fence, as it is placed smack bag in their path.

Something you need to know about Botswana, is that it's a tad wilder than SA. It is not uncommon for people to drive past Elephants, Lion, Zebra etc etc on our main roads. They have all been the cause of some serious car accidents at night.
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Unread postby restio » Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:25 pm

I have dug out my copy of "Cry of the Kalahari" by Mark & Delia Owens (ISBN 0-00-637030) and thought I'd quote some of the relevant sections. It is 1979 and the rains have failed.

This was unlike the Serengeti migration, where herds of wildebeest often mass together in great numbers. Because they live in a marginal, semidesert habitat, the Kalahari population is more mobile and less concentrated to begin with; now it was moving in herds of from 40 to 400 antelope, scattered along a vast front measuring more than 100 miles from east to west.

Not all the herds headed in the same direction. One portion, probably more than 90,000 strong, had taken the route to the north [to Lake Xau, Lake Ngami, the Okavango]; tens of thousands of others began walking toward the Limpopo river 300 miles to the east.... Once underway, they spent little time feeding, for without moisture, they could not digest what they ate. Their aim was to get to water, and perhaps to better forage, as quickly as possible....

The herds covered about 25 or 30 miles each night. From the air the dusty migratory trails looked like gnarled fingers reaching for the lakes and rivers.... The desert was taking its toll of the very young and the old; they were left behind for the scavengers. The physical condition of each animal was pitted against the great distances that had to be traveled, with little to eat and nothing to drink, but evolution had prepared them for the trek, and the strong should survive.

Suddenly, the wildebeest stopped short.... Stretched across their path were strands of high-tensile steel wire - the Kuki foot-and-mouth-disease control fence....

The wildebeest were cut off from the emergency water and riverine habitat that for eons they had counted upon in times of drought. Nothing they had ever learned, none of their instincts could help them deal with this obstacle.

As they plodded along the fence, they encountered many other herds, part of the same migration headed for the lakeshores and riverbanks. Each day they were joined by giraffe, gemsbok and hartebeest, all needing water but trapped by the wire and the posts.

....Animals began to drop from hunger, thirst and fatigue. A giraffe who could have easily stepped over the wire became tangled in it. He struggled to get free, but the coils of high-tensile steel sliced deep into his flesh until he pitched forward, breaking his foreleg at the knee. His hind legs still ensnared, he pawed at the ground for days, building small mounds of sand around him as he tried to rise again. He never did.


This is a heart-rending :cry: story of how well-meaning intervention (fences to stop foot-and-mouth) had catastrophic unintended consequences. To me, this underscores the importance of realising that we are all part of the same natural system, and that the balance is finely tuned. We meddle at our peril.

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Loams
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Unread postby Loams » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:39 pm

Yeah, it' a good book, and it takes your emotions on a roller coaster ride ;-)

Next question.

4.5 Million tons of Elephant dung fall on African soil every day.
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Jock
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Unread postby Jock » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:34 am

Okay, my book says that one 10 year old elephant produces 100kg of dung a day (man I am glad I don't have to clean up after them!!!!!). So I am going to say false, we have an elephant problem but I don't think it is that bad.
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Unread postby Salva » Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:19 am

mathematics are not my favourite. Let's just say I know elephants are full of crap! :lol: But I doubt it's that bad....
U lacht en U heeft gelijk dat U lacht maar het is niet om mee te lachen

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Loams
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Unread postby Loams » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:04 pm

Would you guys like to phone a friend on this one???
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Jose
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Unread postby Jose » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:33 pm

Loams wrote:Would you guys like to phone a friend on this one???

I tried, but you didn't answer! :evil: :lol:

I'll say true. You said "African soil" so that would mean the entire continent, and like Salva says, they're full of it... :wink:

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Unread postby restio » Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:25 pm

OK... I'll try to do the maths:

- Jock says that one 10-year-old elephant can produce 100kg of dung a day (the mind boggles). I found another source that suggested that they produce 150 kg per day on average.
- according to the WWF, there were 600,000 ellies in 1989. Current estimates range from 400,000 to 660,000.

Going with the lower numbers (you'll see why at the end), we have:
- one ellie produces 36,500 kgs of dung a year
- 400,000 elephants produce 14,600,000,000 kgs a year
- assuming Loams is using metric tons, we divide by 1000 to get 14,600,000 tons

So, according to my back-of-the envelope calculations, that's 14,6 million tons a year. Of course it's quite possible that one of my assumptions or calculations is wrong. But at this stage, I have to say false on the basis that that 4.5 million tons is TOO LITTLE. :shock:

Good grief! No wonder dung beetles always look so frantically busy!

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Unread postby Loams » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:08 pm

Uh ok, restio, Maths was never my strong point ;-)

Answer is false
According to Sir Richard Attenborough 9 Million tons of Elephant dung land on Africa daily......
(Source: Elephants, spy in the herd)
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Unread postby restio » Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:43 pm

Loams, I spotted my mistake, and it was an incorrect assumption. You said 4.5 million tons of ellie dung are deposited per day, and I worked out per year! :doh: :redface:

Imberbe, thanks for the encouragement. Seems that my arithmetic surpasses my skills of comprehension. :lol:

Loams, great question! :clap: I had a lot of fun trying to figure it out!

In fact, it's still intriguing me, because now that I've tried to "reverse engineer" 9 millions tons a day to find out how many elephants that is, I can see that one of my other assumptions was incorrect (even using the higher numbers). Either there are more than 660,000 African elephants, or they deposit more than 150 kilos each per day. Hmm, perhaps Sir R is using US imperial short tons?

*restio wanders off to to google conversion tables and find Excel...*

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Jock
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Unread postby Jock » Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:10 am

Give us another one Loams :D
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Unread postby Loams » Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:25 pm

Salva wrote:but a less crappy one, please...


Aww man!!!! :cry:
lol Salva

Restio, if you pm your email address to me, I'll mail you a little program that converts (almost) anything mathematical....

Next one:
Crocodile is the only African carnivore that will see man as it's natural prey. All other predators regard us as competition or a threat.

I am glad you guys enjoy this quiz ;-)
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graemy
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Unread postby graemy » Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:12 pm

I would tend to say false.

I think the crocodile naturally sees us as a threat....
New trip report being processed...

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restio
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Unread postby restio » Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:28 pm

I guess that it's true.


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