Bugs

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Bugs last won the day on January 30 2013

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  1. Although we may accept Kruger is massive in extent, it and even larger areas like Hwange are finite in capacity and also natural migrations are restricted and altered by human settlements, fences, no-go areas and also by the provision of water points. Botswana has chosen to manage their elephant populations by increasing the watering points, while Kruger has opted for the opposite. Kruger is trying to limit damage while Botswana is trying to spread the damage. Either way, it's an acknowledgement that there is a problem. That being the fact that the areas cannot support so many elephants.
  2. No - I am not aware of them culling lion to save sable and roan. I am aware that they are now breeding sable and roan in lion free areas to be reintroduced, and that part of the motivation to close down watering holes was to benefit the sable and roan, by reducing the lion population naturally. Lions are known to hover around watering holes as its easy access to their food supply, and by cutting down waterholes, they force lions out of the territory they were in and they come into conflict with other lions. Here they quickly sort each other out - no cull needed. At least some people will be happy that the lions kill each other as opposed being culled. In one breath we argue that there is a shortage of lions, and on the other, there are always these lions appearing from nowhere to take over habitat from lions that were there and removed. This just shows how robust lions are to persecution. The culling of lions was done to prevent them from moving out the park. This was in the day when the fences were not electrified. The nomad males would float around gathering strength in order to return to take a pride. When they left the park in the old days, they were shot. Today, we dart them and return them only for them to be killed by the same territorial males who chased them out in the first place. There are people who would think that beats being shot by the rangers.
  3. It seems that the elephant management plan doesn't agree with that. If they did, then why are they talking about control methods? Shutting down watering holes, Contraception, relocation, and culling.... And talking about range extension options. in 2008 the population was between 12000 and 16000 - this is roughly double the recommended number when culling ceased. That number would probably have doubled again. What is interesting is that there are claims that elephants have slowed down their breeding. This is an interesting theory, but if it is true, it suggests that the elephants aren't getting the nutrients they need to stimulate breeding or take the pregnancy to go full term or aborting or abandoning the calves due to inability to feed them. Any livestock farmer will confirm that when conditions are poor, the losses are often adult cows in calf, and then they have poor recruitment as well. So the observation that elephants are producing less, is an acknowledgement that the population is under stress because there are TOO MANY. With this in mind and the fact that other animals are competing for the same nutrients, the consequences aren't difficult to imagine.
  4. @Towlersonsafari for interest here is a paper written in 1994 "a scientific bibliography on the national parks of South Africa" You will see that even as far back as 1994 the most studied animal was the elephant and 270 studies had been done on elephants in South Africa alone. While you are at it, there some very interesting references to studies done as far back as 1958. Many more studies are about landscape and vegetation, so there is no shortage of reference material. But while perusing many of these references I found something interesting from 1983 on the impact of elephants on the impact of elephants on vegetation Another interesting article which caught my eye was this paper . I make specific reference to page 77 where they talk about lions and have a nice table where they show how many lions had to be removed or killed as they left the park. The lion population at the time was estimated at just over 1000. (today they think its 2400) A total of 87 lions were destroyed between 1958 and 1959. Now I don't know if lions today are weaker, but its pretty clear that lion populations can handle a substantial "harvest" back in 1958. It didn't appear to do much harm and by holding the lion numbers low in the early days of the park, it allowed the prey species numbers to increase. It wasn't long for lion numbers to reach 2000. If they were harvesting nearly 100 lions a year with a stable population of 1000, then I would guess that lions would be able to offer 200 lions a year to any form of utilisation required. This supports my theory that animals will easily recover in numbers as long as the conditions are right. In fact - it even says so in the paper in 1958 - And I quote from page 74 "the rising curve of the population increase of the majority of species in the park over the past few good years, is naturally reflected in a parallel, gradual growth in the lion population. in spite of control measures in local areas, which at times were necessitated by circumstances"
  5. Respectfully or not, you are still not qualified to make this claim. You should remember that Kruger National park is one of the worlds largest laboratories. There are more scientists and research officials studying the reserve that you can swing a bat at. What is important to note, is that there was no harm done by keeping the population at the level they had in the past, however, I can't find anyone who can say the same now. What is also easy to demonstrate is that whether the population of elephants was too low or not doesn't really matter, because elephants have demonstrated that they are pretty efficient at reproducing. In which case, its preferable to maintain a lower number of elephants as opposed to having too many.
  6. Not sure how you make this claim. In the old days, (and in fact, the principle still stands, but is not applied) the people tasked with keeping our national parks were tasked to preserve biodiversity. To do this you have to preserve the status quo and hold the balance. Although this may be about counting animals, its also about measuring the impact of habitat flux. It may be understood that habitat is always in a state of flux that is influenced by seasons and climate, but the impact is exaggerated when the balance of animals feeding of the finite resource is out of kilter. Management plans are also prone to review which happens from time to time. What beats me is that Joe Publci challenged the culling and forced a change in responsible science-based management plans. The consequences are there and measured.
  7. Can you provide a citation for this? I understand that lion studies are only held on the peripheries of Hwange and little is known what is going on with the lions deep inside the reserve. Once again - you continue with counting animals. What you completely ignore is that lions breed very well and can sustain a substantial offtake. Their numbers are almost always in proportion to the amount of food available.
  8. If we stopped poaching tomorrow - elephants would still be in big trouble
  9. It may be a good time to watch this video again. The elephant and the pauper
  10. Nice theory. But the truth is that poachers have a far far greater impact on genetic woes of elephants - It also makes me wonder what kind of genetic interference you will trump up over contraception campaigns. So we are allowed to manage wildlife by closing them in fences, preventing their movement with human encroachment, and supplying waterholes even to the point that we can sterilise them, and yet we completely dismiss the impact of poachers, but lord forbid allowing a hunter to kill a tiny fraction of non-productive animals and take a trophy. As a researcher, you are supposed to input all the factors and variable that may influence elephant populations, and yet by completely dismissing far greater evils and being fixated on a tiny percentage of elephants that are culled legally (trophy hunted) you are able to contrive some results that support your dogma.
  11. As @douglaswise quite correctly points out - it makes no difference to the animal. But culling can cost money and trophy hunters pay. My friend why did the much of the culling in Hluhluwe culled over 12 000 other animals above the hundreds of lions he had to kill. In many cases, they simply left the carcasses in the bush as recovering them took too much time and incurred an expense and required resources they couldn't afford. However, this changed in time with the establishment of meat processing plants that were market driven. Today we seem to prefer to use some form of contraception to keep the number in check. This involves a cost, and in the long run, deprives conservation areas in deriving an income from surplus animals, and pretty much ties them into donor demands. I think it appalling that in a day where funding for conservation is in such short supply yet through public pressure conservation areas are forbidden from profiting off their surplus animals. It's a complete joke. We have an instance where for example, Hluhluwe has 700 elephants and their elephant management plan recommended a limit of 200 but now as opposed to culling and using the meat (which BTW is worth more than the ivory) but forced to bear the cost of contracepting hundreds of elephants each year. If they could cull over 270 lions in 8 years, then they too have the ability to use these surplus animals for profit - the bones and skins alone are worth enough to generate a profit, but no - they have to incur a cost to contracept them. It shouldn't surprise you to hear then that HiP is in serious financial trouble.
  12. I agree - it would be nice if there were another way to raise the funds. Sadly this is not the case, as many NGO's contribute nothing to habitat preservation and spend most of their time beating the drums that bring in the money so they can beat the drums harder to bring in more money. Any NGO that spends its time trying to stop hunting is counterproductive in my opinion. They should rather take the funds they raise and buy a concession and protect it - this is not a competition - there is plenty of land that needs protection. Go get some. Not sure what makes you think this, and what logic you are using. BUT - its a little along the line that "for every legal trade there will be an illegal trade". This concept tends to forget that we trade just about everything we see in our daily lives. That's why we go to shops and that's how businesses run. It would be a bizarre thought to stop selling cars to reduce vehicle theft. As for "shooting things we are trying to protect" - it's a little simplistic, but I guess a farmer would understand that he may protect his cattle, but needs to sell them or eat them in order to pay for their upkeep. Farmers find this easy to understand. And again - we completely miss the point animals are designed to reproduce well when times are good - "just add water!" - just give them habitat and they thrive and in no time there will be a surplus which you can utilise. If the habitat and or food source is destroyed then you will not have success. FIRST PRIORITY IS HABITAT it takes a long time to create or restore habitat, (trees take hundreds of years) animals bounce back quickly. The idea is that you use the animals to pay for the habitat. In a recent story Garth Owen Smith revealed that there are too many lions in the Kunene, The solution would be to reduce the number of lions and allow prey species numbers to increase - then the lions (who breed like rabbits) will simply do what they do best. 35 elephant were introduced into Hluhluwe park and today there are 700. they introduced 5 (in 1965) lions and in 8 years they had too many and started culling. I spoke to the ranger who did the culling and his records show that he (and others) shot 276 lions in 8 years from 1974 to 1982 that was done to keep the numbers of lions stable at 110. Bubye valley conservancy introduced 13 lions in 1999 and today they have over 500, despite the fact that they have hunted some. Kruger park founder population of white rhino was introduced over a few years was around 600 around and today there are (should be) over 7000. There are hundreds of other examples of animals bouncing back - the Bontebok and blesbok is another - just add habitat and now they are plentiful. We need to stop hanging on to every word the NGO's hype up for their marketing campaigns. Think habitat! Think biodiversity! And stop getting so emotional about hunting a single animal and the fact that you don't like the stereotypical trophy hunter. If we do this we are simply chasing our tails - wildlife needs habitat and so do people - without funds and incentives, we will lose habitat to alternative land use.
  13. Lifting the Ban on Elephant Trophies Will Probably Help Save Elephants "Our knee-jerk reaction to hunting (and to Trump) ignores good data that suggest hunting works as a means of conservation." By Neel V. Patel
  14. Elephant poaching is on the increase because CAMPFIRE has been disabled as a result of this ban. The consequence of the ban on trophy exports is that hunting industries collapse and the wildlife areas are left unfunded and unprotected and the people take to poaching. If your theory were right then there would be no poisoning of elephant in areas designated for tourism. Of course this is not true, as many of the poisoning cases happened in tourist areas.
  15. As above - Its great to "blame" Trump, but actually it was the USFWS that made the decision. A moratorium is a temporary ban that allows information to be gathered. In the meantime, your cricket players in the UK never imposed a moratorium in the first place. Fortunately, that was the responsible thing to do, as is the lifting of this debilitating moratorium that was enforced by a spinless USFWS bowing to pressure from Animal Rights groups.

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