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The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby leelee » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:10 am

In the early 90's, you could count yourself very blessed if you came across lions on trail and could watch them (undisturbed). First signs of humans and they would flee. Only when they were not aware of our presence - we were either hidden by shrubbery or would watch them from an elevated height - was it possible to watch them.

However, the last few years I have had many a scary moment on foot when either being charged by lions or growled at (not including the times we 'by accident' came across them). Luckily so far the shouting and clapping of the rangers have been sufficient. I guess it is because we did not run away that it was not necessary for further actions to be taken.

Trust you get the idea, missings.a.!
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby ndloti » Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:00 pm

Certainly field staff were discouraged from camping in certain hotspot areas at the height of the refugee crossings .
I would assume the decrease in refugees has resulted in less of them being eaten , and I assume the successive generations of lions have lost their familiarity with man ?

Perhaps just an impression , but I get the idea that trails rangers walking in the previous hotspot areas are more careful , perhaps avoiding vegetated and potential hide - up areas areas where there is a larger chance of running into problems ?

Really little need to be afraid , missings.a.! - the possibility of an incident is very low indeed , you have a larger chance of coming to grief by other means in the human populated parts of the world .
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:11 am

Bruce Brydon makes mention of refugees in his book, "Memories of a Game Ranger". Harry Wolhuter alludes to problems in his book, covering the first half of the last century. It has been a problem for decades. It will remain a problem as long as people are driven by poverty and desperation to seek a better life. If there is to be finger pointing, it must be at everything that leads to starvation.
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Spotted Cat » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:12 pm

Meandering Mouse wrote:Bruce Brydon makes mention of refugees in his book, "Memories of a Game Ranger". Harry Wolhuter alludes to problems in his book, covering the first half of the last century. It has been a problem for decades. It will remain a problem as long as people are driven by poverty and desperation to seek a better life. If there is to be finger pointing, it must be at everything that leads to starvation.


To add to that ...

Alex Hawes wrote:(South Africa's Once and Future Park)

Dedicated rangers crisscross Kruger via Land Rovers, bicycle, helicopter, and on foot to make sure that doesn't happen. Yet when tourism, conservation, and commerce all tug on the wildlife fabric, the edges start to unravel.

Containing Nature

As the adage goes, fences make good neighbors. Ideally, fenced wildlife parks keep wild animals in, and livestock and people (save low-impact tourists) out. This doesn't always happen. Kruger borders Zimbabwe to the north and Mozambique to the east. Conservation quickly becomes complex in such a geographical bind. Since 1992, Mozambique has struggled with the transition to peace after two decades of revolution and civil war. The turmoil in Mozambique, the world's poorest nation, has produced a steady flow of illegal immigrants into South Africa, the continent's richest. From 1993 through 1997, more than 16,000 illegals were picked up in Kruger; from January to July of this year, 2,160 were arrested. The eastern border offers a perfect entry spot for those seeking to disappear into the bush. Perfect, with one exception: the carnivores on the other side.

How many illegals are killed is anyone's guess. Rangers report human footprints in the veld vanishing into nowhere and cite scraps of torn clothing as evidence of immigrants being killed by wild animals. One notorious pride of lions killed at least seven Mozambican immigrants in two weeks. Fearing the safety of its own personnel, the park management decided to shoot the pride. "It was very scary, I promise you," says Kruger's head veterinarian Douw Grobler. And at 6'4", Grobler—known as the "Gentle Giant"—does not scare easily. He hopes in the future to use radiocollars to keep track of man-eating lions, and to avoid having to kill carnivores that are simply following their instincts.
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:35 pm

One of my more fortunate experiences was to be able to go on a course with Bruce Brydon. One of the topics broached was the reality of "man eaters". He mentioned that in certain areas Lions most definately saw "homosapiens" as prey. Labourers working on Mozamique roads had to be closely guarded from these Lion.

On one of our walks we came apon a single shoe. Bruce picked it up, looked at it and raised his eyebows. It could have been a hyena salvaging from a dump, a baboon throwing off his "toy" from a "victims" car, it could have been any scavanger who might have carried it for hours through untrampled bush... or some poor human terrified in his last moments.

My own feeling is that the real man eaters are the "leaders" who allow people to starve in service of their own "ego".
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby missings.a.! » Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:39 am

Spotted Cat wrote:
Meandering Mouse wrote:Bruce Brydon makes mention of refugees in his book, "Memories of a Game Ranger". Harry Wolhuter alludes to problems in his book, covering the first half of the last century. It has been a problem for decades. It will remain a problem as long as people are driven by poverty and desperation to seek a better life. If there is to be finger pointing, it must be at everything that leads to starvation.


To add to that ...

Alex Hawes wrote:(South Africa's Once and Future Park)

Dedicated rangers crisscross Kruger via Land Rovers, bicycle, helicopter, and on foot to make sure that doesn't happen. Yet when tourism, conservation, and commerce all tug on the wildlife fabric, the edges start to unravel.

Containing Nature

As the adage goes, fences make good neighbors. Ideally, fenced wildlife parks keep wild animals in, and livestock and people (save low-impact tourists) out. This doesn't always happen. Kruger borders Zimbabwe to the north and Mozambique to the east. Conservation quickly becomes complex in such a geographical bind. Since 1992, Mozambique has struggled with the transition to peace after two decades of revolution and civil war. The turmoil in Mozambique, the world's poorest nation, has produced a steady flow of illegal immigrants into South Africa, the continent's richest. From 1993 through 1997, more than 16,000 illegals were picked up in Kruger; from January to July of this year, 2,160 were arrested. The eastern border offers a perfect entry spot for those seeking to disappear into the bush. Perfect, with one exception: the carnivores on the other side.

How many illegals are killed is anyone's guess. Rangers report human footprints in the veld vanishing into nowhere and cite scraps of torn clothing as evidence of immigrants being killed by wild animals. One notorious pride of lions killed at least seven Mozambican immigrants in two weeks. Fearing the safety of its own personnel, the park management decided to shoot the pride. "It was very scary, I promise you," says Kruger's head veterinarian Douw Grobler. And at 6'4", Grobler—known as the "Gentle Giant"—does not scare easily. He hopes in the future to use radiocollars to keep track of man-eating lions, and to avoid having to kill carnivores that are simply following their instincts.


I will be very interested to hear opinions when some of you have read the book that this thread is about.

I may read it again. What I disagreed with, was the claim that a blind eye was turned over the deaths of illegals. It may be as Ndloti said, there was not a lot could be done. But as quoted above, there has been a policy of shooting the maneaters and to me that must have always been so, otherwise, the rangers and other staff would be in serious danger. A lot have patrolled on bicycles.

What I have read, is the private reserves have become very concerned at the behaviour of lion, which I would be interested to know about because, those lion are also coming in from The Kruger.

There have been videos and photos of lion looking into and at the visitors in their cars.

There are the videos on the Kgaligadi park board that show lion coming right in close around the accommodation. :big_eyes:

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Sanpfan » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:13 pm

An old topic I know but I'll drag it back up here..... :wink:

In the era of massive illegal migration through the park from the east there was a large number of people who came into contact with predators in the park and these predators became accustomed to treating humans as prey. When there are isolated incidents of man-eaters these can be destroyed (even whole prides - up to 20 individuals). However, when there is a bigger problem and there are many more individuals and prides partaking in this behavior it becomes more difficult to resolve. We cannot go out and kill all the predators in a large area. Also, sometimes it is more resource and cost intensive to have to deal with certain situations. We are talking of human life but if you consider the fact that many countries have extensively used things like landmines to prevent mass illegal migrations, turning a blind eye to a semi-natural issue is well possible (if not PC).

The conservation authorities have a fine balancing act to keep the main goals of conserving species that are under threat (all our cat species fall in this category) with the adverse effects of the confrontation of wildlife and human settlement. Humans are increasingly encroaching on wildlife habitat and this confrontation is becoming common and with far-reaching consequences for nature and wildlife.
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby missings.a.! » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:13 pm

Sanpfan,

Thank you very much for your response and input.

The priority is the wildlife reserve and the problem is that humans use The Kruger Park to walk to South Africa and a better life.

As an English person who has lived in South Africa, I don't believe that the authorities ever ignored the danger for illegal immigrants. It is just that, if the illegals won't stop travelling through The Kruger, then the only way to deal with it is to dispose of the predators and then it is no longer a wildlife sanctuary. So what is it to be I ask myself. :?

In my opinion, the wildlife should be sacred and prevention of people walking through The Kruger should be paramount.

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby missings.a.! » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:58 pm

Well, JMO and then I will bow out on this.

If they are criminals trying to enter South Africa, then yes, let them face whatever they face.

Many of the people are very poor and have nothing. South Africa is a light as the USA is the light for South America and Cuba.

For me, I am just so very thankful that I am not walking in their shoes, poor and hungry and if I were South African, I would prefer to discourage them from entering in the first place.

Perhaps it was a mistake to bring down the electric fences.

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Gemma T » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:01 pm

I've just finished reading this book and I think the authour deals pretty sensitively with a massively complicated area.

I don't think it is as simple as SA turning a blind eye to the immigration problem during the Apertheid era, as some have said he seemed to be saying...I think the double-edged sword of rangers patrolling to try to prevent the refugees, resulting in the refugees starting to move almost exclusively at night and the difference in lion behaviour between day and night, thus resulting in an increase in refugee deaths. I think the rangers were in an unwinable situation at that time - they couldn't be seen to let refugees pass freely through the park and by patrolling to catch them that drove the refugees to be active at lions' most dangerous hunting time - the night.

It is understandable that this wasn't something that was highly publicised at the time and also prejudice that is felt in all countries that receive high numbers of immigrants is likely to have come into play...an ugly reality, but a reality nontheless.

I found the book highly informative and certainly gave me an insight into the problem I hadn't had previously.
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby ndloti » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:57 am

Gemma T wrote: resulting in the refugees starting to move almost exclusively at night and the difference in lion behaviour between day and night, thus resulting in an increase in refugee deaths. I think the rangers were in an unwinable situation at that time - they couldn't be seen to let refugees pass freely through the park and by patrolling to catch them that drove the refugees to be active at lions' most dangerous hunting time - the night.


Reasons why it was logically better for refugees to traverse the KNP at night ...

In the heat of the day walking in open country is exhausting , take into account that the refugees were often emaciated before crossing into Kruger .
The refugees relied on the reflection of the lights from Phalaborwa open cast mine to navigate through the featureless terrain .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby WELSH_ASH » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:37 am

I have just finished reading this book and it was well worth the £1.50 I paid to get it on kindle.

Whilst I can agree with previous comments on here it could be written a bit better, it does fully tell the story of the plight of the refugees transversing the park and the dangers they AND the rangers of Kruger face.

Recommended to any Kruger obsessed forumite who has yet to read it!

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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Lilacroller » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:49 pm

Hi

Does anyone have a copy of this book they they are willing to sell me. Or does anyone know where I can get a copy.
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Re: The man-eaters of Eden, life and death in Kruger NP

Unread postby Gemma T » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:18 pm

I got mine on my kindle too But it available in paperback from the uk Amazon site.
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