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 Post subject: What! Look at your old wildebeests!
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:02 pm 
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Hello,

The other day, i was reading again some pages of South African Eden (Stevenson-Hamilton, 1937), and i was amused of the difference of mentality in those days. On this forum, i can see people from everywhere in the world sharing their passion for Kruger park and african wildlife. But in 1923, very few people would consider game for other purpose than shooting. Like the american West, the Bushveld was conquered with the Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Let me retranscribe this paragraph for you :

In the same year, 1923, the South African railway authorities conceived the idea of running, during the cold weather, a service of fortnightly tourist trains to points of interest in the Transvaal. [...] When the programme of the service was shown to me I was a little disappointed, though perharps hardly surprised, to discover that these tourist trains were scheduled to pass through the reserve by night on every occasion, and of course without stopping.

I called on the system manager, whom i knew, and mooted the idea of allowing each train to make a halt while passing through, or at least to make the journey by daylight. "But why ? he asked me, with a surprised air.

"Well", I said, "perharps some people might like to look at the game".

He looked at me steadily for a moment or two, as one does at a person of whose complete sanity one is not quite sure, then he leaned back in his chair and burst into a hearty laugh. When he had recovered a little, he gasped out, "What ! Look at your old wildebeests ! What on earth do you suppose anyone wants to see them for ? But look here" - suddenly struck by an idea - " I will make a bargain with you. If you will allow us to stop and have a little shooting - I promise we won't bring more than a single rifle on the train - I am sure that would amuse the passengers. We could put an expert shot on board, and some of them might like to have a go themselves. Anyhow, if you will agree to that I think I could arrange for an hour's halt".


One can understand this obscurantism was normal at the beginning of the century, but I find this kind of attitude less funny nowadays, as it is still widespread...


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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:49 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:21 am 
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Emmanuel, thank you for that post :thumbs_up: It shows how attitudes have changed.

Sometimes when people get very negative about Sanparks, I want to say.. look how far we have come...

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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:09 am 
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EMMANUEL, that was excelent.

Yes, MM, we have come long way. Back in the day (1923 and before) we still had those very strong hunter / gatherer instincts. We have changed the world since then and become more "civilised" and as such, we have had to come along way.

We have not come quite far enough yet though in terms of enforcing the rules we have created to preserve the wild that still live within the confines of the nature reserves.

We no longer hunt for the food we eat, but go to the local store to buy it. In doing this, we have had to keep more cows in grazing pastures and pushed the wild animlas into smaller and smaller reserves.

This is real progress.

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Conservation is not an option.
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Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:43 am 
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I always find it so interesting to read or hear about the beginnings of KNP! Thanks for sharing EMMANUEL! It is wonderful to realise that in some ways - society has changed for the better! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:15 am 
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saraf wrote:
But it has it changed?

How many people do you tell about your trips to Kruger/KTP etc and you see their eyes glaze over in boredom? I'd like to bet that the majority of people you know have never been to any of the parks and have absolutely no interest in going, or if they have gone once, don't want to go back.

Travelling around SA the majority of people I meet have never been to Kruger.


Is this such a bad thing Saraf? KNP is already, in my mind, overutilised by tourists. If we had several million others who wanted to go to the reserves, it would a) be that much more difficult to obtain a booking.
b) think of how many more speeding hoogliand and renegades would be charging around.
c) the overcrowding at big cat sightings would be ten times worse than it currently is.
d) the litter problem would increase exponentially.

Call me selfish, but I prefer less people there than more. :whistle:

There are a lot of places in SA I have never been to and I live here.

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Bunny Hugger

Conservation is not an option.
It's imperative.

Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

Think Pink. ..


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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:56 am 
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yoda wrote:
Bunnyhugger - Sure, you do have some valid points.

But more people interested in conservation can't be a bad thing.
Perhaps if millions more people were interested in seeing wildlife, it would encourage the creation of more National Parks?


Fat chance of that happeneing although it would be nice. More people on the planet puts more pressure on nature. I imagine the sand beneath the wild grass of KNP to be fertile enough. Plenty of cattle grazing and land to culitvate to feed the teeming millions. I recon there are more than a lot of people who have had that idea for a loooooong time. Eat the game and then cultivate the land. After all, who can eat a legacy.

yoda wrote:
Also, more people interested in conservation, more of a protest/voice when someone decides to start mining or developement for eg of a sensative area.


That would also be fantastic. As it stands right now, I can almost relate to the chap who wanted to shoot the poor wildebeest. We are probably seen as being on the lunatic fringe.

My login name came from an insult someone once paid me. Or so they thought. I took it more as a compliment.

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Bunny Hugger

Conservation is not an option.
It's imperative.

Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

Think Pink. ..


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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Bunnyhugger,

I didn't mean more people on the planet being added. I meant if more people of the existing population were interested in wildlife, there may be more pressure to declare additional conservation areas.


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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Hello everybody,

Here is another paragraph of South African Eden that i think may be of interest concerning the narrow-mindedness that Stevenson-Hamilton - first warden of the future Kruger park - had to cope with in the 1920'...

During the cold weather of 1903 Sabi Bridge was honoured by a first-class official visit.[...]The rank and file of the visitors arrived apparently satisfied that they were about to embark on a shooting trip fraught possibly with some peril; one indeed, had brought specially for the occasion a new 450 Express cordite rifle, though he had inadvertently omitted to bring cartridges for the weapon. All expected, it seemed, to find a lion crouched under every bush, patiently waiting to test their prowess. I am sure they anticipated for dinner nothing less than elephant trunk, and so their disappointment was proportionately bitter when they found that it was proposed to feed them on the ordinary army ration of bully beef. There was, in fact, actually nothing else to offer. Then, and for years afterwards, no shooting for meat was carried out by the staff, and so far as animal food was concerned, we lived on poultry and things out of tins.

It was, perhaps, a little disconcerting when one had been practising self-denial in the midst of comparative plenty, to find people - and officials connected with game preservation at that - fresh from a hearty beef and mutton diet, crying out for game meat, and to hear one of them exclaim, as an impala ewe, inspired with newly engendered confidence, stood gazing at him within fifty yards distance, "Oh, what a lovely shot; how i wish i had my gun !"

[...] The attitude of these officials merely reflected that of the general public towards game at that time. Wild animals were viewed purely from a utility standpoint and were most admirable when they were dead.[...] I remember, in either Pretoria or Johannesburg, someone envying me for the 'wonderful shooting' I must be having. When I replied that I never shot any game at all and neither did my staff, he stared at me for a moment in speechless astonishment, and then blurted out, 'Why? Can't you hit them, then ?'
It happened in these early days also, that some member of the Legislative Council who was not particularly favourable to game preservation was cavilling at what he called the extravagant salaries paid to our staff. " Why", he added, " I would do it myself without any pay at all, just for the soooting !"


That is all folks !


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 Post subject: Re: WHAT ! LOOK AT YOUR OLD WILDEBEESTS !
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:15 am 
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EMMANUEL :D :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: excellent.

Thank you for that. I love to read about the early days. Wolhuter's book gave me many hours of joy. I hope that you treat us to more. :pray:

I did have a giggle about "being a poor shot".

I come from a family that has a distinct dislike for any killing, yet a couple of generations ago the occasional hunting trip was a given. My father hunted, my brothers would rather have downed poisen.

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 Post subject: Re: What! Look at your old wildebeests!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:33 am 
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I am very fond of the book under discussion :). I find the following quote that Emmanuel gave from the book quite amusing in a historical sense:

EMMANUEL wrote:
"What ! Look at your old wildebeests ! What on earth do you suppose anyone wants to see them for ? But look here" - suddenly struck by an idea - " I will make a bargain with you. If you will allow us to stop and have a little shooting - I promise we won't bring more than a single rifle on the train - I am sure that would amuse the passengers.


I am glad that today in the more “modern” times visitors to Kruger prefer watching the game in their natural habitat rather than anticipating having them for lunch or dinner :wink:

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