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Attitudes towards culling

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#21 inyathi

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 12:36 AM

At risk off repeating what has already been said, It's not Africa that is different, it's elephants that are different, indeed I've already said this before in the Hwange thread.

 

@Soukous You possibly forgot about Canada's annual seal hunt, which generates plenty of international protest.


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#22 Tom Kellie

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 05:17 AM

At risk off repeating what has already been said, It's not Africa that is different, it's elephants that are different, indeed I've already said this before in the Hwange thread.

 

@Soukous You possibly forgot about Canada's annual seal hunt, which generates plenty of international protest.

 

~ @inyathi

 

Would Japan's notorious Taiji Cove dolphin drive kill also qualify?

 

https://en.wikipedia...n_drive_hunting

 

Or is that somehow conceptually different?

 

Tom K.


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#23 Tom Kellie

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 05:23 AM

Many have articulately addressed this difficult question here.

 

Why is Africa different?  Elephants are a main target of culling in Africa.

Why does the suggestion of a cull in Africa stimulate howls of protest from all corners of the globe?  Because the elephant has such an advanced brain that generates behaviors we can relate to, the world has more sympathy for this species.  Whales (not necessarily in Africa and not being culled to reduce population) generate similar support, because of their cognitive and communication skills.

 

How would Australians feel if Kenyans started a campaign to protest against the Brumby cull? Much of the world does not know what a Brumby is.   Sounds sort of rodent-like and not that appealing.  But there are widespread appeals to save wild/feral horses, which generate a lot of support because of our long history and association with the species.

 

~ @Atravelynn

 

Amen to all that you've written in holiday green.

 

As of this moment, I have no idea what a ‘Brumby’ might be!

 

Cognitive affinity resonates...

 

Tom K.



#24 ZaminOz

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 07:30 AM

@Tom Kellie

 

Brumbies are wild feral horses that roam the high country of New South Wales and Victoria (Australia) ... much like American mustangs.


Edited by ZaminOz, 30 November 2015 - 07:31 AM.

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#25 Tom Kellie

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 08:23 AM

@Tom Kellie

 

Brumbies are wild feral horses that roam the high country of New South Wales and Victoria (Australia) ... much like American mustangs.

 

~ @ZaminOz

 

Never would I have guessed that. Never.

 

I had in mind a proliferating marsupial of some sort.

 

I was way, way off!

 

Many thanks for the clarification.

 

Tom K.


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#26 Atravelynn

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Posted 30 November 2015 - 02:56 PM

 

@Tom Kellie

 

Brumbies are wild feral horses that roam the high country of New South Wales and Victoria (Australia) ... much like American mustangs.

 

~ @ZaminOz

 

Never would I have guessed that. Never.

 

I had in mind a proliferating marsupial of some sort.

 

I was way, way off!

 

Many thanks for the clarification.

 

Tom K.

 

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#27 LastChanceSafaris

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 08:29 AM

A debate that has branched off from the Hwange Dilemma..... how could I not put in my five cents?
* Introduced species become feral because they out compete the naturally occurring species - usually to their detriment and to the detriment of delicate ecosystems. The complexity of any ecosystem has evolved over millennia and the interplay between its myriad co-evolved species is a tightrope act. Removal of feral animals is an attempt to restore the balance, but as we have seen in Australia this has never been successfully achieved (rabbits, cane toads, water buffalo, brumbies, etc.) but the ecologists continue to try, and I believe as a general rule they should.

* Reduction of naturally occurring species is, in my humble opinion, always driven by economic considerations. In the case of high profile animals like elephant, dolphin, whales, seals etc. the proponents of culling couch their reasons as environmental, but drill down far enough (usually not far) and it will come down to economics (examine the badger issue where a natural occurring animal is now persona non grata because of a domesticated/economic animal). Now in some cases I feel we should step in and reduce numbers, but ONLY when we have been responsible for the removal/extinction of apex predators from an ecosystem. Classic examples include deer and coyote where cougar and wolf populations are heavily compromised or extinct (BTW badger predators are endangered or extinct throughout their UK range).

* In largely intact ecosystems (from apex predator to anthrax bacteria) where the balancing act is at play, I believe the impact of mass culling seriously threatens that balance. There is NO evidence that such culls achieve the proclaimed environmental objectives, but they always achieve the 'secondary' economic objectives. Now in Africa and our oceans we have largely intact ecosystems and I think that one of the reasons the international community gets 'upset' with talk of culls is partly because they see places like these as unspoilt and want them to remain so; I certainly do. By unspoilt I mean natural, because some will argue that elephants eating trees 'spoils' the environment, where I see it as a natural interplay.  

* A debate within this debate is the Namibian Minister's recent speech about the sovereign (and constitutional) right of Namibia to sustainably utilise their natural resources. This includes hunting desert elephant and rhino, and culling 80,000 seals annually. Now I don't think this is 'sustainable' in the true sense of the word and I argue against it, but do I or the international community have the right to condemn their democratic right to manage their resources as such? Perhaps they should rephrase to 'economically utilise' their natural resources and call it what it is instead of feeding environmental bovine faeces to their critics.


Edited by LastChanceSafaris, 05 December 2015 - 08:46 AM.

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#28 douglaswise

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 12:01 PM

@LastChanceSafaris:

 

You make an overtly well argued and reasonable case against culling, but, in my view, one based on only partial understanding.

 

You suggest that there is no evidence that culling ever achieves its environmental objectives, but always meets its secondary economic ones.  You then use this argument to suggest that cull proponents are dishonest when they cite potential environmental advantages.  It does you little credit to impugn the motives of those with whom you disagree.

 

Your use of the description of natural in the context of African ecosystems is also something of an illusion.  Protected wildlife areas may give this illusory impression, but one must accept that most are surrounded by tightening nets of human activity which impose constraints on the behaviour of the denizens within.  Under such anthropogenic circumstances, it seems, to me, that human management of the situation becomes superior to one of laissez faire.

 

Finally, your implicit suggestion that environmental action is good and economic action bad is not one that would sit well with democratic politicians and the bulk of their electorates who almost unanimously strive for constant economic growth.  It seems to me, therefore, that there is nothing inherently evil in seeking means of making wildlife "pay its way".  It is highly questionable whether photo-tourism alone can ever do so.



#29 LastChanceSafaris

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 01:25 PM

...... and again @douglaswise

 

I don't believe my understanding is partial. On the contrary, how I live and where I live means that my understanding is driven by an existence within such systems along with the people who are directly involved.

 

I don't suggest that mass culling (elephants, seals etc.) doesn't meet the environmental objectives stated by the pro-cull lobbyists, I categorically state it.

Drill down on any mass cull action and it will come down to economics, dressed up for us greenys' benefit as ecologically beneficial. What I do suggest is that the economic objectives are actually primary, not secondary. Call it as it is and stop hiding behind a green screen. This is what Namibia is doing and I actually applaud their honesty, despite my belief that mass culls are not ecologically or economically sustainable in the long run - there will be fall out. 

 

This brings me to my last 'implicit suggestion' that ecological is good and economic is bad. It wasn't the intended suggestion at all. If Namibia, a truly democratic and quite forward thinking nation where wildlife numbers continue to increase, believes their economically driven policies to cull seals and hunt desert elephant and rhino is beneficial to both wildlife and people, should we be condemning them? Personally I don't condone what they do regarding seals, elephants and rhinos, but I cannot condemn actions that are quite literally feeding a nation. Just don't coat it in b******t. What I would hope for is something to replace mass consumptive use. Fence sitting perhaps, but it is a complex issue. 

 

Natural in the context of large swathes of Africa is definitely not an illusion!

 

The Serengeti ecosystem has pretty much remained the same for aeons - it remains a completely natural phenomenon. Many such examples exist across the continent. The mentality that humans are separate from the rest of the natural world is half the problem. Please do an internet review of Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) to see what is being achieved in just one part of the continent to allow natural integration of people and wildlife. It is doable! If I don't believe that this and other such global initiatives will work then I might as well go and commit the ecologists form of suicide.

 

Man will always strive to manage his environment - it is part of our evolved genetic make up, but I would hope that MANagement becomes less egocentric and more (dare I say it.....yes, yes...) Holistic. Mass culls, for me, simply do not fit the bill. If any authority adopts such policies, they should be honest about the economic reasons and let the photo-tourism chips fall where they may. Then accept the resultant economic consequences when the tourist refuses to visit that country, such as I am reading on forums and twitter after Namibia's recent public revelations. Pay to stay?  Fewer tourists will if mass culls are adopted, but now I am rambling.


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#30 Chobe Clive

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 07:38 AM

A lot of good arguments and counter arguments. Man's ability to attempt to control Mother-Nature has not been met with tremendous success in the past. One part of the issue is that the causal chain is often ignored or not properly studied. We want to manage / control the bush (which in terms of knowledge we have only just scratched the surface of) simply by removing numbers of one species who are considered the root problem. However, how will this affect other species? What will be the knock-on effect of reducing the elephant numbers? For example, will culling allow the rise of other species that could potentially cause more damage? Will the natural balance therefore be upset? (Australian cane toad being a "wonderful" example of attempted species control. OK, it's not quite the same thing but serves to illustrate a point.)

 

There is no doubt of the destructive power of our long-nosed companions - the differences in the bush I have seen in the Chobe area over the past 7 years attest to this. However, Mother-Nature has always been the hand steadying the rudder on this and has, on more than one occasion, wielded the axe as effectively as we can. (Whether by habitat degradation, disease, drought and the like.) The drought in Botswana has already begun this balancing act. The ellies are really beginning to struggle given that much of their last-ditch forage around the river has been stripped out. The lions are also working on their own private cull amongst the exhausted individuals arriving at the Chobe River.

 

The bottom line is that we have created boundaries and, to a certain extent, demarcated where we believe the animals should be allowed to go which, for animals, is an alien concept. I was at a meeting on Saturday regarding human-wildlife conflict and an interesting statistic came out: the instances of human wildlife conflict have risen (in the area being discussed) while the elephant numbers have remained more or less equal. (Of course this is another argument altogether but the number was given to me by an NGO specialising in elephants so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.) So who is the cause? I would venture habitat encroachment as a valid argument.

 

Can we really control the bush or are we trying to create a controlled Jurassic Park environment where humans dictate how nature should function. That never seems to work out so well for the humans.


Edited by Chobe Clive, 08 December 2015 - 07:48 AM.

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#31 LastChanceSafaris

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 01:49 PM

Touche @Chobe Clive. Glad you have entered the fray. Please have a read of Jonathan Scott's recent blog that shows quite clearly some of the human wildlife conflict issues that resulted in the Marsh pride poisoning. Bit off the topic here, but there are echoes that apply to this subject as well.


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#32 Tom Kellie

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 02:08 PM

Touche @Chobe Clive. Glad you have entered the fray. Please have a read of Jonathan Scott's recent blog that shows quite clearly some of the human wildlife conflict issues that resulted in the Marsh pride poisoning. Bit off the topic here, but there are echoes that apply to this subject as well.

 

~ @LastChanceSafaris

 

Thank you very much for posting the link to Jonathan Scott's blog.

 

After reading his blog entry and the following comments, I better understand certain aspects of the underlying issues.

 

After six visits to Masai Mara and nine overall visits to Kenya, it's the frequency and scale of the herding in parks and reserves which has caused me to reconsider the nature of future visits to Kenya.

 

Tom K.



#33 Chobe Clive

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 03:28 PM

@LastChanceSafaris - the human wildlife aspect is definitely an inescapable and intrinsically linked part of the whole argument. Should we get stuck into that topic in a different thread?


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#34 BobsCreek

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 02:08 AM

In regards to Yellowstone Bison (where I am), the refusal to allow a native animal to roam is fought tooth and nail by cattle rancher. hey use the excuse of Brucellosis. Brucellosis was introduced to Elk and Bison by cattle, the Ranchers don't overly complain about the elk, and instead pick on the Bison. The only confirmed transfer from wildlife to cattle was form ELK, not bison. The ranchers just do not want to share land with native animals.


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#35 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 07:37 AM

  • Namibia  lost a whole lot of credibility when it issued a license for hunting unnamed problem elephant , if things were done in the correct way an exact animal must be identified
  • if they gave it a go the rangers around yellowstone and grand Teton parks  may well do a whole lot better with private wildlife reserves catering for visitors who want to avoid crowds
  • brumbies are a major environmental problem, one which very little is done about

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#36 Tom Kellie

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 07:19 AM

In regards to Yellowstone Bison (where I am), the refusal to allow a native animal to roam is fought tooth and nail by cattle rancher. hey use the excuse of Brucellosis. Brucellosis was introduced to Elk and Bison by cattle, the Ranchers don't overly complain about the elk, and instead pick on the Bison. The only confirmed transfer from wildlife to cattle was form ELK, not bison. The ranchers just do not want to share land with native animals.

 

~ @BobsCreek

 

Thank you so much for noting this pertinent example.

 

Economic self-interest leading to selective interpretation of natural phenomena.

 

It's helpful to read about such examples from throughout the globe.

 

Tom K.


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#37 ellenhighwater

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 04:38 AM

Looks like Bubye might have to cull a couple hundred lions unless they can quickly find them a home:

http://www.telegraph...sk-of-cull.html



#38 egilio

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 04:57 AM

In regards to Yellowstone Bison (where I am), the refusal to allow a native animal to roam is fought tooth and nail by cattle rancher. hey use the excuse of Brucellosis. Brucellosis was introduced to Elk and Bison by cattle, the Ranchers don't overly complain about the elk, and instead pick on the Bison. The only confirmed transfer from wildlife to cattle was form ELK, not bison. The ranchers just do not want to share land with native animals.

 

Added to that, brucellosis doesn't kill cattle, it only increases the percentage of abortions, but only the first time after the animal gets pregnant after infection. Cattle could be vaccinated, but that cost money and vaccinated animals can't be distinguished from infected animals. It's all purely economical. Especially when you, like @BobsCreek mentioned, look at elk, which have been cofirmed to transmit brucellosis to cattle, but which can be hunted and there are a lot of hunters who pay good money to hunt on private land, so they hold more value to the cattle rangers. 



#39 douglaswise

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 11:58 AM

@egilio:  I think that you are partially correct.  However, I think you underestimate the importance/significance of brucellosis.  You have prompted me to read the open source scientific literature on the subject.  If people like @BobsCreek took the trouble to inform himself, he might understand the wider picture and be less vitriolic about farmers.  Scientists who have studied the subject have concluded that brucella transmission to cattle is more likely from individual bison than from elk.  This is apparently because bison calve in groups and elk separate themselves.  The infection is thus readily self-sustained in the former and not in the latter - because it is mainly spread between adults of the same and other species at calving.  When elk are artificially fed in winter and become concentrated in numbers in the same areas as cattle, they, too, represent a risk to cattle.

 

Vaccination is not totally effective and, long-term, eradication must be the goal.  However, the modern vaccine does allow one to differentiate between serological responses that indicate true infection and those that are the consequence of the vaccine itself.

 

@Tom Kellie:  You are obviously a kind and courteous man and constantly heap praise on the contributions of others.  It is my understanding that you are also a professional teacher of conservation matters.  For this reason, I found your response to @BobsCreek to be profoundly irritating.  You have taken his assertions as correct.  They are not.

 

I do have other information that could be of interest to you.  My wife and I recently returned from a week that combined Porini Mara and Porini Lion.  In passing, I should say that we had an excellent time at both camps.  I preferred the former because the game density was much higher and there were no competing vehicles at sightings.  The apparent exception was cats -which we saw at both camps, but more at the latter. However, the quite heavy vehicle density there may just have made them easier to find. It is highly likely that the aberrant weather accounted for the higher density of game around Porini Mara.  Everything was beautifully green and there was a large surplus of ungrazed long grass which will be potentially to the detriment of wildebeest when they return in numbers.  Anyway, I'm getting off the subject.  I wished to put my "angry old man" hat back on again and mention one of our most interesting Mara sightings which, unfortunately, we failed to photograph.  It consisted of a higher primate on a game drive wearing a paper face mask - to whit a female Chinese tourist.  I regard this as an insult to the Mara atmosphere and very bad manners.  On a more positive note, there was a Chinese conservation worker at the camp who styled himself "Simba".  He claimed to be the first Chinese conservationist to be concerned with African wildlife and his aim was to make China internationally recognised as the leading country for conservation in the world - somewhat imperialist I thought and not an easy task!  However, he has apparently started an NGO, fully funded by private Chinese citizens and is helping the local community and the conservancy by funding lion-proof bomas and vehicles (mainly motor bikes) for rangers.  At the time of our visit, he was organising a film crew to promote the cause.  His NGO pays for SWARA, an East African conservation-based magazine, to be translated into Chinese (or whatever the language is called) and distributed. He spends 4 months /annum in Kenya and then returns to China to conduct promotional work and fund raising.  It struck me as all very worthy.  I thought it might be a good thing if you and he made contact.  This could be arranged through Jake Grieves-Cook.      


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#40 TonyQ

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 12:16 PM

@douglaswise

I believe that surgical masks are worn by many people in Asia for a number of different reasons. One of these reasons is that if a person has a cold, it is polite to wear a mask so that you do not spread it to your companions. Another reason is to avoid breathing in pollen and suffering an associated allergic reaction. A third reason is to avoid breathing in pollution. (There are other reasons as well).

 

 It appears to be an assumption that it is an insult to the Mara atmosphere (unless you know the reason for the wearing of the mask in this case?)


Edited by TonyQ, 08 March 2016 - 12:16 PM.

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