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Elephant Culling in KNP - Your views

Discuss current issues and events happening in the parks.
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Elsa
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Unread postby Elsa » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:48 pm

Received this news today.

From: wildlifecampus
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 8:14 AM
Subject: [africam-wlc] Elephant Culling in the KNP: Decision expected Wed 28 Feb


On Wed the 28th of Feb, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will announce his decision as to whether the suspended culling of Elephant in the Kruger National Park will be lifted or continued.

If the culling re-commences, between 500 and 800 elephant will be culled annually. This will maintain the current population at ± 12,000 which grows naturally at 6 % annually.
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Unread postby Richprins » Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:47 pm

Thanks Elsa!

Who wants to put money on our esteemed minister rocking the international boat by approving culling!?

No Way

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Unread postby bucky » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:23 pm

Ill put money on him taking the easy way out .

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Unread postby MATTHYS » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:28 pm

He'll do what his told to do !
Doesn't he always ?
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bert
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Unread postby bert » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:56 pm

Elsa wrote:
On Wed the 28th of Feb, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will announce his decision as to whether the suspended culling of Elephant in the Kruger National Park will be lifted or continued.



I put my money on suspending the decision.

Please inform us non Saffies about this important decision

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Unread postby Muhammad » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:12 pm

JOHANNESBURG
SA to resume elephant culling

Wed, 28 Feb 2007
South Africa may reintroduce the culling of elephants following a sharp increase in their numbers over the last decade, Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an elephant park in the Eastern Cape province, Van Schalkwyk outlined a series of measures that were under consideration by his department designed to balance "the needs of humankind and the needs of nature".

Since the government introduced a moratorium on culling in 1995, the number of elephants had shot up from around 8000 to around 20 000 — a figure which the minister made clear was unsustainable.

"South Africa is faced with a particular challenge as most of our protected areas are fenced and surrounded by land that has been transformed, to a greater or lesser extent, by human development," he told reporters.

"Elephants are potentially difficult to confine within protected areas, and if they leave the area, they pose a threat to the lives and property of neighbours."

Following a lengthy consultation period, Van Schalkwyk said his department had drawn up a series of options to control the population, including culling, contraception and the transfer of herds to less heavily-populated areas.

"Some such as culling and contraception I would have personally preferred not to consider but I am persuaded that all these options have a potential role to play under different circumstances," he said.

"Where lethal measures are necessary to manage an elephant or group of elephants or to manage the size of elephant populations, these should be undertaken with circumspection," the minister added.

Around three-quarters of South Africa's elephant population roam in the Kruger national park in the northeast, one of the country's main tourist draws

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Unread postby Loams » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:35 pm

So which skeptics would like some salt with their words first??
How about you bucky... :twisted:
bert??? :twisted:


Seriously though, seems like he did what he should have done, and that is to listen to his advisers locally and not to bow to international pressure only.

I for one am skeptical whether culling is actually needed after I saw the condition of the park, but I have no scientific degree, neither do I study the park and general ecology like they do. Therefore I accept their decision. I just hope they continue to do research into alternative methods that are potentially viable
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Unread postby DuQues » Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:56 pm

Loams wrote:I just hope they continue to do research into alternative methods that are potentially viable

I bet they will. However the "that is to listen to his advisers locally and not to bow to international pressure only" bit is a little incorrect. I noticed no one had found the statements the WWF made, so here are few bits and pieces:
"They are converter animals - habitat engineers - they will modify their habitat if allowed to do so," says Rob Little, director of conservation at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa.

South Africa National Parks (Sanparks) has recommended a return to culling to save the country's flora and fauna before it is too late.

"Culling should certainly be retained as an option," says WWF's Mr Little.

(Found here)
WWF has for years been working to establish trans-frontier conservation areas in Africa to help conserve elephant migration corridors, to reduce human-elephant conflict, and to establish community-based natural resource management programmes. The global conservation organization has also helped establish new protected areas at the national level, as well as helped translocate elephants from South Africa to an under-populated trans-border park in Mozambique.

But translocation is expensive and labour-intensive and can only help remove a limited number of “unwanted” elephants — up to only 14 at a time, according to Kruger staff. Translocating one elephant can cost as much as US$8,000. Despite the price tag, many have been taken across the border to Mozambique, but the elephants have raided the crops of communities still living in the area, and some have actually found their way back to their traditional feeding grounds in Kruger — making the whole operation ineffective. Contraception methods have also been employed over the years, but this has proven to be expensive and the park’s veterinarians say it can only stabilize populations, not reduce them.

And on the same page:
WWF has recently supported the IUCN Species Survival Commission African Elephant Specialist Group to produce technical guidelines for the management of local over-population of African elephants. This is expected to be published in early 2007 and will provide park managers and national governments with the information they need to make informed decisions about the options available to them.

Read the whole article on the WWF site.
A bit more of the same:
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) expressed support for the Government's approach. "I don't believe there's any danger that culling would be undertaken before the use of other management options, such as contraception, translocation and conservation corridors, have been considered," Rob Little, conservation director for WWF South Africa, said on Monday. "Given elephants' ability to transform an entire landscape, action is needed, or the result will be the mass starvation of elephants and other species," he said.

Kruger officials have said that without action, the elephant population will triple to 34,000 by 2020, posing a threat to other animals and vegetation in the Israel-sized reserve. South Africa culled a total of 14,562 elephants between 1967 and 1994. Without that cull, the population would have rocketed by now to 80,000, according to parks chief executive, David Mabunda.

The source for that bit.
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Unread postby Elsa » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:17 pm

I guess the minister has tried to some degree to keep all parties happy. :?
Such a difficult decision on such an emotional and important
subject.
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bert
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Unread postby bert » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:20 pm

Loams
I read the word
may reintroduce

imo a final verdict must still be taken.

But i have mentioned this before.
At the end of the day it boils down to money.

In other words.
Are we prepared as world community to pay the amounts needed to relocate Kruger elephants elsewhere.

And i know that except for Angola southern africa cant house big numbers of elephants anymore .

btw, i believe that Chobe in Botswana is having the same population problems.

I only hope that if culling will be in fashion again the people will have the sense of taking out a whole family and dont spare a small one for selling.

Its difficult for me to argue the fact that elephants are transforming Kruger and this is already having a effect on the landscape.

Lets keep our fingers crossed that the first option is still to trans locate more of these gentle giants to the Limpopo side of Kruger. I believe that was one of the general ideas of forming a Kruger across the border

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Unread postby Loams » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:21 pm

Nah,

Never had problems with the WWF. They released a statement ages ago that they would support a move to return to culling. I published that in my post regarding essential reading pertaining to culling. The international pressure I was referring to was more some of the other pressure groups that were mainly based overseas, calling for the complete banning of culling elephants.
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Loams
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Unread postby Loams » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:49 pm

Apologies bert and bucky :redface:

I should have read the article more carefully and not allow them to lead me by the title in my thinking :redface:
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Unread postby bert » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:56 pm

Loams wrote:Apologies bert and bucky :redface:



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Unread postby bucky » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:18 pm

I wont get as friendly as bert , but no worries mate :P

I wonder what the actual outcome of all the scientific advisor's , and the plan ahead is going to be now , has the minister actually proposed a solution ,or put up yet another statement that will waste more time one way or the other ?

Loams , are you seriously saying you can not see any habitat reduction ?
Time we go on a fact finding mission I think :D

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Unread postby Loams » Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:42 pm

bucky wrote:Loams , are you seriously saying you can not see any habitat reduction ?
Time we go on a fact finding mission I think :D


Any excuse to go the park eh??

bucky, habitat comes and goes. As do animal numbers fluctuate. And the two are linked. My point is that I don't think that the scientists can say 100% that this is not what happens in nature in say a 500 year or so cycle. I doubt they really know enough. But they are best equipped to answer the questions "most" accurately.

Besides, when the food runs out, elephants will die naturally, in a much crueler way though. The only concern is for the smaller species that they affect too. But this is where I start saying things like "I am not qualified" because I'm not ;-)

And at some point, you need to trust the people that are educated and appointed to make decisions, and if it proves to be wrong, then we have lost nothing. I said this in the past. I would rather let them err on the side of caution.

Still I am not convinced that the habitat is being destroyed.
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