Do we know what we are doing?

I am sorry if it sounds as though I am pro culling elephants, because I am not, but quite honestly I don’t see any alternative, in South Africa that it. Botswana has an innovative approach spearheaded by Mike Chase (PhD) called Elephants without Borders HYPERLINK “” Take a look at their site as there are many interesting aspects being looked at by Dr Chase and his team.

Unfortunately Botswana and South Africa are very different so varied approaches need to be considered and implemented. Some of the issues are universal which include; social, economic, cultural and political. Each of these issues has to be addressed and solutions decided upon that best suites all interested and affected parties and most importantly the elephants/wildlife.

Prior to the CITES ban on the trade of elephants products in 1989, neighbouring communities to the Kruger National Park benefitted from the culling of elephants by being given an allocation of meat. This was a direct benefit to them which met their social, economic and cultural needs, a political decision made by the people-in-charge. Pre 1989 the adjoining communities looked upon the Kruger as theirs because they benefitted directly from it. Poachers wanting to go through their communities to access the reserve were shunned and often reported to the local rangers. Post 1989 they no longer receive benefits from the reserve so they allowed poachers free access and no longer report them. Reporting poaches often lead to retribution pre 1989 so was a dangerous thing to do.











Something to think about: Decisions regarding the management of wildlife needs to be considered objectively and not emotionally. Unfortunately today the opposite is often true and with the change in policy from conservation bodies making unilateral decisions and implementing them, to inviting all interested and affected parties to have their say in the decisions has adverse and delaying effects in the decision making process. Many of the interested parties are basing their decisions from an emotional platform and often have little or no scientific substance. (This is not to say that all interested parties are guilty of this and a huge amount of valuable data is often forthcoming from them aiding the decision making process).

To conclude I feel that it is very important to note that no-one really has all the answers. Historically reputable conservation authorities have made monumental blunders which in hind-sight are startlingly obvious. Most of these blunders have been rectified but is our generation also guilty of similar blunders? Only time will tell!


About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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