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Everything posted by Towlersonsafari

  1. Thanks very much @kittykat23ukfor a wonderful trip report with some epic sightings! Whetting our appetites for our November KTP/Karoo trip-
  2. finally had time to read the article and it does seem strange that elephants were excluded bearing in mind their effect on woodland and its encroachment @douglaswise even though it was because that elephants had not reached their natural level yet-some of the species mentioned-Sable and roan for example,, are in decline so their populations are not stable either. i have read that the management tried to replicate burning-which of course occurs naturally and must be one of the factors influencing an environment-but found that they were too regular and organised and that it had an adverse effect on the number of species-it needed to be more random which I suppose makes sense.the other factor as i understand it is that savannah and woodland have always varied depending on the long term climatic conditions and how you factor that in when deciding how much Savannah to try to preserve is another very tricky question!
  3. In case anyone is interested Ethical Consumer magazine have updated their report on binocular manufacturers and their links to Sports Hunting hopefully found here- It does acknowldge the part that to paraphrase properly regulated hunting plays in conservation, and includes a quote from Opticron that points out that hunting may help with excessive deer numbers in Scotland, but its top five "ethical" manufacturers are Canon, Kenko Tokina Olympus Opticron All of whom havew no links with actively promoting sports hunting indeed since the first report Opticron have ended their weak links-it must because I wrote to them and said I was buying their bino's and getting rid of my evil ones!!! For those still iinterested the article includes a list of those it says glamorises hunting-sadly including all the best makes!- These include Alpen, Steiner, Swarovski, Burris, Bresser, Zeiss, Leica, Vanguard, Vortex, Hawke, Leupold, Meopta and Vista (Bushnell and Tasco brands). I realise that trying to stick to ones own values is a very slippery slope
  4. Brilliant barking geckos picture @kittykat23uk I found myself counting their barks and got a rough average of 6! Well everyone needs a hobby
  5. Wonderful sightings in a wonderful place! And we did the Cassie trail sounds like you managed the boulder filled ravine better than I did! Really enjoying your report @kittykat23uk
  6. LP thank you @douglaswise I will certainly read it
  7. You are a lot braver than Jane and I @janzin we stayed once at a Tongabezi lodge but we're not remotely brave enough! A splendid report
  8. Hurrah for Aardvarks and a rare push-me-pull you Aardwolf @kittykat23uk
  9. Wonderful cushions @janzin we also have about 10 aardvark place mats sewn from a south African woman's refuge that look a lot like some of your cushions!
  10. We have even brought tribal textile stuff mail order its a lovely place with some really nice hangings etc really enjoying your report @janzn
  11. That was in 2000 and so not sure anyone would be interested @Game Warden-our first and last mokoro adventure-nothing happened but the thought of going through those narrow twisty channels was not a good one.! our one canoe trip put us off for life as well!
  12. The baboon photo is particularly beautiful @janzin
  13. I am a bit disappointed that you are not proposing to design and build your own mokoro with a waterproof camera turret and anti-hippo defences @Peter Connan and having been in a mokoro i'm with @Pomkiwi -an advancing hippo would not instantly have me thinking "I wonder if my camera might get wet?"
  14. Excellent report @RobK your enthusiasm really shines through if you don't mind me saying so and some lovely sightings
  15. Thank you for your reply @douglaswise I do think our differences are mainly of degree, and it is fascinating to compare the provision of artificial waterholes at such different areas, and their seemingly different effects. I think perhaps it may be done to the amount of wildife the areas can support with or without these waterholes and therefore the maximum effect they can have upon the vegetation when those populations are at their densest. .i apologise if i have misled you,but in my retelling of the Kruger story I was hoping to explain how well meaning actions proved unhelpful.Culling per se does have a role to play-sorry to sound like an old record but Red deer in Scotland is an obvious example.But I think it should be done as a last resort, when all other options have been explored and tried.Also i hoped my examples would illustrate just how complicated it is in trying to make the right management decisions. I start from take no action as a first position whilst you may well come from the opposite position. i felt able to comment as I thought the discussion had widened from the original reserve. Certainly it would appear that the smaller the area, the more the need for more interventional management.And even the Kruger needs some.Then we can look at the purpose of the area.This is, I would argue, why it is important to have a mix of ownership or models. A government or charity/NGO owned protected area may well be able to look more in the long term, and .be better able to cope and accept droughts for example, without rushing to ameliorate its effects and accepting that sadly starvation is part of the natural cycle. A privately owned reserve which depends on tourism or selling stock etc will not be able to afford such an approach.Some tourists will not want to come to see starving wildlife slowly die.They will want to see predators and other charismatic wildlife so their may well be a need to increase those numbers, and of course the stock will be the owners livelihood. Finally I cannot resist congratulating you for equating large mammals with humans-admit it-you are a bunny hugger after all!!! (sorry I am sure you will take that n the spirit with which it was meant) But the problem with culling over starvation is that it takes out selection-the culler chooses which animals to kill, not the environment and I do not think we can do a better job, leaving aside the argument that we should kill something to stop it being killed in another way
  16. Hello there @pomkiwi are you sure that isn't a female Merlin?
  17. i love the dragonfly @janzin and of course the Pels!
  18. Dear @douglaswise thanks for taking the time to reply. Firstly the Kgalagadi. looking at their website in fact boreholes were dug at the outbreak of the first world war to help those guarding against an invasion from what is now Namibia. following this attempts at farming were unsuccessful Part of the the South African part of the park was proclaimed in 1931 and animal numbers increased in the second world war when a shortage of bullets led to decreased poaching!. As I understand it fencing on the Namibia side cut off some traditional migration routes so without the boreholes the park would not be able to carry the numbers it does. As for the use of the word "capital" i have of course no objection as you have used it correctly ( written in the same spirit that I am sure your comment was made. Were I a better man then i would have been able to ignore it.) anyway i don't think there have ever been ellies in the area of the KTP but I stand to be corrected.I thought we were not talking particularly about waterholes and ellies per se, but artificial waterholes in general. As for artificial ellies in the Kruger, I think you are very much in a minority.i also respectfully suggest that your calculations are not perhaps helpful and your suggestions for actively managing wildlife (in terms of time frame for example) are I am sure fine for a game ranch or farm, but not for a reserve where the idea is to preserve the environment and with it the biodiversity-i think we still do not know enough about how parts of the environment impact on each other and that the default setting must be to leave well alone and monitor and intervene only where absolutely necessary. i will try to elaborate about the artificial waterholes in the Kruger. by the way i don't know how it affects your calculations but a researcher, Jaqui Codron discovered that the diet of elephants in the northern Kruger consisted of 40% poor quality grass in the dry season whilst those in the southern Kruger that dropped to 10% in the wet season in both areas it was 50% grass . in 1959 a decision was made to erect a boundary fence on the krugers western boundary .this blocked off migration routes and caused many deaths amongst Zebra,wildebeest kudu giraffes etc.they died not just by crashing against the fence but because of starvation..A decision was then made to drill boreholes and create more artificial waterholes( some had been created when the sabie river was no longer part of the reserve in the 1950's) the artificial waterholes encouraged zebra and wildebeest to stay all year long, and not to move into other areas.The grass could not cope as it was subject to overgrazing all year round..Then in 1966 this was addressed-the overgrazing-by a cull. the aim was to cull 5% of the wildebeest in the park and 3% of Zebra. There was low rainfall during the 1960's .In fact the better rainfall in the summer of 71/72 resulted in a fall in Zebra and wildebeest numbers--by over 50% in wildebeest and 40% in Zebras-it is thought that the Zebras and wildebeest were incapable of coping with the sudden and dramatic grass growth (a researcher Butch Smits ) -the tremendous growth helped predators-tall grasses had compelled the zebras etc to break down into smaller groups, lions used the long grass as cover, the prey species were not migrating due to the artificial water sources-the additional waterholes in the central part of the Kruger resulted in a doubling of the lion population.More lions-more chances that antelope such as Roan and Sable-which are never in the numbers of the zebra etc, were taken by lion and the relatively low numbers could not cope.(I think the Roan and Sable in the Kruger prefer areas which are not exploited by Zebra etc and so the artificial waterholes would not have helped the them either so how to address the lion increase-Yes a cull of lions! which of course did not work as it just created a lion vacuum. I suggest that this is ample evidence that in the kruger, artificial waterholes did not work there is more but that is the end of my lunch!
  19. Although spookily enough @douglaswise the provision of artificial waterholes in the Kruger is now thought by everyone including the parks management to be something of a disaster.( and has been reversed) On the other hand the provision of artificial waterholes in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park-most of which were I think originally put in to encourage farming- has been a godsend as fencing on the Namibia side prevented the movement of wildlife.I mention this is because of course one size does not fit all
  20. Dear @douglaswise what you say in your first substantive paragraph of post 100 is uncontroversial (save the use of the word socialist) The report you mention itself encourages the change in law to allow NGO's private philanthropists et al to safely invest, for local folk to be involved, and for the government agency itself , with limited funds, to concentrate on certain can surely be agreed upon. i am not sure anything can be gained from wondering about the numbr of biologists as opposed to zoologists but in terms of management, we can agree that the key is detailed research which informs wildlife decisions, but I do wonder if enough of that research is undertaken? Look at the mistakes made in the Kruger-well meaning well intentioned mistakes, taken just because the research was not there? And over what time period do you suggest decisions are taken? How do you account for climatic variations or drought cycles? do you decide on an ideal amount of each species and then each year adjust accordingly? Do you monitor over say 10 years? I must admit I tend towards a hands off approach, but your last paragraph is one that can also be agreed with. As an example of planning and active management that does seem to have worked, i recently read an article about Mountain Zebra National Pak where there have been cheetah, but no lions for some time.Then lions-not many-were introduced and cheetah numbers have not been affected-the suggestion was that more familiar with the terrain, and moved-along with buffalo incidentally higher up to avoid the lions.the park-fenced-is 27,000 hectares I understand so the lion population will need close monitoring
  21. i must admit we have loved the south luangwa as much as lower Zambezi but I fully sympathise-to waste time over breakfast just seems perverse! and very unusual. and then the battle between being polite and yet wanting to go walking puts one in a very difficult position-if walking is advertised then they surely have to make proper provision for it. ( Our worst experience was at a camp now washed away where it has been the only time ever that the camp manager told my wife that she should not expect veggie food in the bush-!-our experience is that the veggie food is wonderful and amazing) We do try to ask our tour operators to mention several times up front we want to walk but it does not always work even with advanced warning ! and that hippo does look very forlorn @janzin
  22. Ladies and Gentleman I am proud to announce, We have now seen, for the first time a Hawfinch!
  23. What wonderful photos @janzin and our time at the Lower Zambezi was also memorable for the leopards, feisty elephants and absolutely no desire whatsoever to get in a canoe! why do you think the lions wanted to disguise their scent?
  24. Hurrah hurrah an Aardvark! @kittykat23uk and I love the pictures of the nightjar and Eagles.And isn't fun just walking in a new area trying to see things, just taking in the scenery, enjoying being outside with always the promise of seeing something wonderful.
  25. Well this report looks very intriguing! @janzin but already splendid photos!

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