Comment on the post “About The Culling Of Elephants In Botswana”

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Ridley Nelson. sees the elephant problem in southern Africa VERY clearly.

If HE can think this way, others can, too.


Author: Ridley Nelson
My own experience, based on studying global dryland issues, and based on 10 years living in Africa, 5 years in India, and many more years visiting both, often involving game viewing or associations with funding wildlife projects, suggests a few key principles (many mentioned in these threads):

1. In the elephant dilemma, the objective must be to ensure viable ecosystems, including soils, flora and fauna (including elephants), in a hundred and two hundred years.

2. We know from research and from experienced observation, that elephants damage ecosystems massively when their numbers grow beyond the carrying capacity because they do not die off soon enough during high population, drought-stressed, episodes. They eat their capital.

3. The natural dying off of elephants, babies first, is far more cruel than taking a bullet. I think we all know which end we ourselves would choose if vegetation and water had run out.

4. The level of vegetation and soil destruction during episodes of over-population damage is usually irreversible, every episode is a step down towards desertification and loss of biodiversity. This ecosystem destruction takes with it many thousands of other animals and plants, not just elephants.

5. So far, nobody has offered a realistic and financially feasible alternative to culling to reduce numbers.

6. All current management plans that claim to be addressing the problem, for example by fiddling with water point management, fencing adjustments, transporting elephants, or opening corridors, while in a few cases of marginal help, are simply kicking the can down the road,  and worse, abetting the building ecosystem destruction.

So the ball is now in the court of those who disagree with culling to demonstrate an alternative approach to reducing numbers and sustaining ecosystems, including a healthy population of elephants for 200 years.

I, for one, would be delighted to hear a workable solution.

Anyone who answers, “I don’t have a solution, but it is not ethical to shoot elephants”, is unethical, and plainly does not care about elephants or sustaining ecosystems.

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