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Hwange's Dilemma

Hwange Wankie Zimbabwe elephant culling

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#161 egilio

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 05:57 PM

@Geoff @Sackrider @ZaminOz

 

Firstly, culling 2000 elephants a year wouldn't change the population much, and the goal of culling is to reduce the population. What @Sackrider describe is harvesting, nothing more, nothing less. Harvesting 2000 elephants a year can be done though, and there are enough people willing to pay for that, unlike @ZaminOz thinks there are thousands, probably over ten thousand, of American hunters going to Africa each year to hunt. A few thousand will go to Zimbabwe and hunderds of them used to shoot elephants. Not just trophy bull elephants, but what's actually a popular hunt is shooting tuskless female elephants. If they would sell it as a cull hunt, it would typically carry lower day rates and much lower 'trophy' fees, but each hunter would should more than one elephant. This would reduce the revenue quite a bit though. And if it's truly culling, whole herds should be shot, to have as little impact as possible on other herds. I doubt hunters will have a problem with shooting calves as long as it's in line with their thoughts of what is good conservation. 

On the meat front though, it would be very difficult to collect and distribute the meat to communities in time. One elephant is usually easily dispatched, often done by villagers themselves. But if you cull inside the park, far away from villages, you don't have those extra hands at hand. Culling a family herd of 6-10 elephants, then cutting them up, loading them into trucks, drive the trucks to villages hours away to distribute the meat you would need a sizeable crew of people to do this, plus several off-road refrigerated trucks. And the beef industry in the country might not be happy with it and cause trouble to raising questions about health issues as the meat is not checked, the animals are not checked etc. 

And like @Geoff said, it will also have an impact on photographic tourism.

 

@Soukous Hope you find that report, looking forward to it!


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#162 douglaswise

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 10:19 AM

@Soukous:

 

Like @egilio, I do hope you will be able to report further with more details of the new management plan.



#163 Tomas

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 06:09 AM

In a perfect world where we would live more naturally and in harmony with nature and no corruption this problems, don't appear to be problems but possibilities.

Shoot 30 000 elephants and give the meat to the local community and sell the ivory. 
Keep the 10 000 elephants that is left in a good balance by shooting 500 a year, the meat goes to the local community and the ivory helps running the park. Let’s say that every elephant has 10 kilos of ivory, legal ivory would probably sell for around 2000usd, that will mean 600 million dollar the first years until you reach a population of 10 000 then the ivory every year would bring in 10 million dollar, every year! Imagine the meat for the local community on top of that!!


Results no more poachers from the local community they get more meat if they protect the animals and if 50% of the money from the ivory also goes to the local community everybody would be an antipoaching ranger so poachers would be wise to stay clear.


Africa’s wildlife is a huge resource if handled properly, revenues from tourism, meat, hides, ivory could go back into the local economy. I know this is almost a utopia because corruption but imagen if there were no corruption, legal ivory would not open up the black market like it does now. Meat and money would go to the local community and also to manage the huge wildlife areas, no fences except maybe around some of the villages and farms, money for doing this would be plenty.

I think that they have no choice though, they have to shoot a lot of elephants, or let them starve and let other animals starve to. Close down the waterholes! Where will the elephants go? How many conflicts would they cause? How many people and elephants killed? It is easy to sit outside Africa and judge but if 30 000 wolfs would go berserk on the countryside and towns of let’s say Germany and kill quite a few people and livestock then they would be shoot straight away. All of them!!

I would feel much better to eat elephant meat or bush meat from a well-regulated park than from pigs that never have seen the sun and are transported and stressed for more than a day before getting gassed because that’s how most pigs live and die!

I know that culling elephants is not a pretty job, to take out a whole herd is a precision thing and not hunting but butchering, but after the initial culling the 500 elephants a year could be hunted in a nicer way.

Conclusion Cull them NOW do the right thing for all the animals they should be our priority together with the local communities not what not so knowledgeable people outside Africa tells us. Make a huge campaign with numbers and colored diagrams and try to make people understand that all the alternatives are worse.



#164 Tomas

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 06:20 AM

@Geoff @Sackrider @ZaminOz

 

Firstly, culling 2000 elephants a year wouldn't change the population much, and the goal of culling is to reduce the population. What @Sackrider describe is harvesting, nothing more, nothing less. Harvesting 2000 elephants a year can be done though, and there are enough people willing to pay for that, unlike @ZaminOz thinks there are thousands, probably over ten thousand, of American hunters going to Africa each year to hunt. A few thousand will go to Zimbabwe and hunderds of them used to shoot elephants. Not just trophy bull elephants, but what's actually a popular hunt is shooting tuskless female elephants. If they would sell it as a cull hunt, it would typically carry lower day rates and much lower 'trophy' fees, but each hunter would should more than one elephant. This would reduce the revenue quite a bit though. And if it's truly culling, whole herds should be shot, to have as little impact as possible on other herds. I doubt hunters will have a problem with shooting calves as long as it's in line with their thoughts of what is good conservation. 

On the meat front though, it would be very difficult to collect and distribute the meat to communities in time. One elephant is usually easily dispatched, often done by villagers themselves. But if you cull inside the park, far away from villages, you don't have those extra hands at hand. Culling a family herd of 6-10 elephants, then cutting them up, loading them into trucks, drive the trucks to villages hours away to distribute the meat you would need a sizeable crew of people to do this, plus several off-road refrigerated trucks. And the beef industry in the country might not be happy with it and cause trouble to raising questions about health issues as the meat is not checked, the animals are not checked etc. 

And like @Geoff said, it will also have an impact on photographic tourism.

 

@Soukous Hope you find that report, looking forward to it!

I think you have really valid points, but to let hunters pay for doing culling would not be a good idea, firstly you will not get hunters not real ones anyway. Secondly you don’t want amateurs on this job culling is extremely hard work and sensitive you want to do it in a safe way and make sure you do it as less stressful for the animals as possible.

Maybe to allow hunting when the population has stabilized after the massive culling but outside the park, to make a lot of tourist dollars and set aside some wild areas that are wilder with fewer tourists but still bring in money


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#165 egilio

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:31 AM

I agree that culling of elephants is a tough job, and needs to be handled by professionals. I was just making the point to ZaminOz that he's underestimating how many (American) hunters come to Africa to shoot elephants. The commitment to hunting and conservation, and the capabilities of tourists hunters vary greatly I agree with that too.   


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#166 ZaminOz

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 07:15 AM

@egilio I agree with what you are saying. There may well be lots of people in America with guns who wouldn't flinch at shooting elephants of all ages with whatever collection of guns they have... But like @Tomas I don't consider every moron with a gun willing to shoot something to be a "hunter". I don't think as many "hunters" as you estimate would want to cull elephant families. But its a moot point, because culling elephants (if it came to that) should really only be done by professionals.

Hunters (true hunters) don't come to Africa to shoot elephants, they come to hunt them and culling (in the numbers being hypothesised here) is not hunting, it is systematic, cold slaughter.


Edited by ZaminOz, 23 March 2016 - 07:17 AM.

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Warning, if any safari camps wish to employ me as a guide, I expect a salary far, far, more commensurate than my actual experience!

#167 douglaswise

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:13 AM

I profess no knowledge of optimum cull methods, but for the need to kill entire family groups.  It would seem to be that the use of helicopters would maximise the probability of achieving a complete group cull.  Furthermore, it would hopefully prevent elephants from becoming aversive to people and tourist vehicles.  Whether the use of rifles would be better than, say, gassing (should it be practicable) is also worth examination.  



#168 Tomas

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:55 AM

I profess no knowledge of optimum cull methods, but for the need to kill entire family groups.  It would seem to be that the use of helicopters would maximise the probability of achieving a complete group cull.  Furthermore, it would hopefully prevent elephants from becoming aversive to people and tourist vehicles.  Whether the use of rifles would be better than, say, gassing (should it be practicable) is also worth examination.  

Guns is the only way to cull, Helicopters should be used but you need a ground crew also and a crew to take care of the meat and the tusks.

Culling elephants is no fun job at all, a lot of hard work and should be done by experienced people.

I can’t say that I am experienced to cull elephants, I have been hunting elephants, sedating big animals and spend time with hunters that have been culling and seen footage. I have been culling other animals and it is no fun believe me and definitely not hunting at al. I have also owned my own butchery and slaughter house.

If Hwange needs more people to cull elephants I will be a volunteer, if they need me.

I think after reading up on the subject that culling Hwanges elephants seems to be a necessity and a really good thing to do to save one of Africa’s finest park and make it livable for al animals.



#169 douglaswise

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 11:46 AM

@Tomas:

 

You state that "guns is the only way to cull".  You may be right, but what authority do you have to be so certain?  Certainly, guns are superior to anaesthetic darts and these are the only methods that I'm aware of that have been used in the past.  However, here we are contemplating a cull of unprecedented scale. Technological advances might allow contemplation of new and superior methods.



#170 Tomas

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 02:59 PM

@Tomas:

 

You state that "guns is the only way to cull".  You may be right, but what authority do you have to be so certain?  Certainly, guns are superior to anaesthetic darts and these are the only methods that I'm aware of that have been used in the past.  However, here we are contemplating a cull of unprecedented scale. Technological advances might allow contemplation of new and superior methods.

Personaly I can’t see any other way than guns. My authority? I haven’t claim to have authority, knowledge maybe as a Professional Hunter. 

Of course we have bombs but that wouldn’t be too nice, poison terrible, Darts with tranquilizer I know some that elephants are really sensitive to and they would die from, but costly and not practical for several reasons one it is dangerous to handle, two elephants could run of, three you have to get really close and in the end stress the elephants more.

I didn’t mean to offend you or say that I decide what goes or not, but my firm belief is that guns and bullets are the only way but if you know of another way please feel free to suggest something better.



#171 egilio

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:14 PM

@ZaminOz I regularly see cull hunts being offered to tourist hunters. Usually on game farms, but sometimes for water buffalo in Northern Australia too for example, and they have no problem selling those. There are a lot of people who like to hunt the way you describe it, but there are also a lot of people who just want to shoot, and preferably as much as possible. They have no problem shooting springboks from the back of a bakkie, or shooting 200+ water buffalo in a week and leaving the carcasses to rot as there is no time to process meat or 'trophies'. 

Maybe there are not many 'true' hunters would want to cull elephants, but don't forget that many 'true' hunters see hunting as one of the very few tools of conservation, and do anything for conservation...And there are lots of people who just want to shoot and kill (lots of people for example shoot gophers or squirrels, nothing to do with 'true' hunting, or with conservation) and they would be willing to cull elephants. But we all here agree that it should be done by experienced professional hunters, to minimize trauma on the elephants.

 

I don't think using tranquilizers is a good idea. It takes some time to load a tranquilizing gun, it takes time for the animals to go down, and it's costly at several hundred dollars per dose of tranquilizer. You will end up with elephants from the same herd going down in several square km. We had to dart several elephants at several instances for de-snaring (snared young one, so had to dart matriarch and mother first to get to those) and having 3 animals down spread out over several hundred meters can be chaotic, not in the least place because the rest of the herd is still around too. 


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#172 Tomas

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 05:48 PM

That it exist people who likes to cull animals I can understand but I would not call them hunters. I have been culling in fenced farms to get population down or to take the surplus and transform it into meat. I would never call that hunting it is slaughtering. I see no wrong in that we eat meat and if we like to eat meat we have to kill animals!



But on the way to the plate it is a huge difference how the “meat” has been treated and lived out its life.



But to cull elephants is a totally different thing then culling other animals. Elephants must be taken out as a hole heard and elephants are smarter than most animals and have a social system that is more complex.



Most hunters I have meet has been “real” hunters and would not like to be in on a cull for money but I have seen others also but I do not call those hunters. In Sweden we have a hunting law and the most important paragraphs goes like this.



“2
7 § The hunting must be conducted so that wildlife is not subjected to unnecessary suffering and people and property are not endangered.”




 

Ҥ 4 Game must be manage in order to

- Preserve the wild species belonging to the country's wildlife populations and the birds that occasionally occurs naturally in the country, Managed with regard to public and private interests and appropriate development of game populations.

Wildlife management hunting includes that with specific measures ensure that wildlife are protected and supported, and to adapt the hunting to the availability of game. In order that the measures are carried out, and the adjustment is made is the responsible landowner or hunter. Act (1997: 343)”

And the of course a lot of other laws that state the obvious that if you injure an animal you are responsible to track it and put it out without delay, hunting from vehicles is not allowed, hunting after dark is usually not allowed, shooting a female with small ones not allowed and so on

I think that hunting is also a wise use of a renewable natural resource and a good way to get meat, job opportunities, money to a local economy but also recreation for a lot of people.

To shoot of the back of a bakkie or let the meat rotten after an enormous cull is not hunting

I have a rule for my daughter (just turned 5) so she will learn respect for wildlife.
-If you kill it you eat it

She understands and she do not like to eat ants so she do not kill them but she is getting smarter and ask me why I don’t eat the mosquitos I kill (o:


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#173 Bugs

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 03:22 PM

I found an interesting article by Graham Child about the elephants - it dates back to 2004. 

 

One can only imagine how much more serious the situation is now - with roughly the same number of elephant set amongst a burgeoning poor rural population.

 

Read Here

 

Another article worth sharing is one by Trevor Lane which featured in the Bhejane Trust newsletter.. 

 

read here for the exert of interest

 

the full newsletter is downloadable here 


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There's none so blind as those who will not see.






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