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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Elephants in the KNP

    While many elephants move into Mozambique from Kruger in the wet season, most return to Kruger for water in the dry season (not just artificial water). So Moz is not a solution.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Elephants in the KNP

    Here is an interesting read.
    It pieces together many studies surrounding this issue. It also highlights the fact this is a complex issue. It’s not only elephants that affect large trees. It may also be, for example, the increase in impala from after the rinderpest outbreak in the 1800’s that has led to the lack of recruitment of big trees. Also, the KNP had for many years followed a fire regime that was not conducive to tree recruitment. So what ideal state should the veld in KNP to go back to, or do we accept that savanna ecosystems are always in a state of flux. It is an easy emotional call (depending on which side of the fence you are sitting) but a very difficult scientific call, given so many variables.


    Originally Posted by Bigal-SA

    Care to share some links to hard research?

    Go to koedoe.co.za and click on “find an article” in the quick links section. Type in a few keywords that interest you in the search bar.

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  4. #43
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    Default Re: Elephants in the KNP

    I have read it and yes it is an interesting read.

    However the point is not the saving of the trees per se but the saving of all those creatures and species that are dependent on the trees for their habitat and survival, trees that are being felled by elephants.

    One reads that elephants were virtually non-existent in the KNP area some 100 and more years ago. A theory that could be put forward is that the rinderpest in fact promoted the incredible biodiversity of the KNP by restricting the number of browsers and grazers allowing the diverse vegetation to proliferate. But in any event, bringing the rinderpest into the equation is in my view rather far fetched.

    The article also advocates placing concrete pyramids around those trees that one might want to save from elephant damage. While this does work well to preserve a tree for aesthetic purposes it is just as far fetched when it comes to securing the habitat for the raptors. Does one put up a sign for the tawny eagle or secretary bird advising them that this particular tree will last a lot longer - the particular raptor can rest assured as it will not lose its nesting place - because it has been protected by the placing of pyramids? Or is the management of the park to go around placing pyramids around every surviving large canopy tree?

    Fear environments are mentioned. These certainly do work but only for a short period of time. The elephant gets habituated after a while and no longer has that fear.

    Also the impala have no part in this particular debate revolving around trees. The problem is the current ongoing rate of felling 70 to maybe 100 year old large canopy tall trees that present possible nesting sites for raptors and other creatures, trees that impala do not have an impact on as is the case with the recruitment of saplings. That might be a problem in 40 years time, one of the reasons why managing impala is so important too.

    Driving from Malalane to Crocodile Bridge along the river one is presented with tree after tree that has been destroyed by elephant activity. While a botanist, by name of Viljoen, had determined that there were 13 large canopy trees per hectare in a large area around Satara in 1955, a density that had remained the same as it was 11 years earlier in 1944, by 1981, after elephants had moved into the area 93% of these large trees had disappeared. Driving around Satara now there is a dearth of large trees across a vast area. I read that in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya this phenomenon of a ecologically changed woodland brought about by elephants has resulted in both the bushbuck as well as the lesser kudu disappearing into extinction in that particular area.

    The attached photos of freshly felled large trees were taken in March this year. No impala was involved in their demise. These trees, that might have been 80 years old, have now been removed as possible nesting sites. There are simply hundreds of such large trees that have been freshly felled across the park, a process that continues unabated.

    You may find the article that I had attached a little while ago written by Dr. Ian Whyte on the elephant dilemma an equally interesting read. I have re-attached it here.
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  6. #44
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    Default Re: Elephants in the KNP

    I see Zimbabwe is considering a large Elephant cull. They believe they have an Elephant population of 100 000. Saw a new article today but can't find it again.

  7. #45
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    Default Re: Elephants in the KNP

    Heck of an interesting thread with some really good inputs. Thanks for starting it Del.

    I was fortunate to listen in to a webinar given by Ian Whyte, he spoke about his life in KNP and towards the end about elephant management. He appears to be firmly in the culling is the best option camp. Have to say its not something I could do or watch but he made a good case.

    Another webinar I watched, from Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA), presented by Prof William Bond raised some interesting points regarding forests vs grassland. Adds another dimension to the debate about elephants and big tree damage. Even forgetting the elephant debate its makes for a fascinating hours viewing.

    http://lcafrica.org/sparktalks/#jBTYw2gfxq0
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