Dear Good Morning Britain – You Missed the Opportunity

Comment by Trevor Oertel

In conservation circles, we often debate what is the biggest threat to biodiversity. After watching your interview with Mr. Ron Thomson, not only a University trained wildlife scientist but also the former Provincial Game Warden in charge of Hwange National Park and later the Director of the former Bophutawana National Parks Board, I think I can safely say the biggest threat to wildlife and biodiversity is an ignorant misinformed lazy media.

Trevor Oertel

Mr. Morgan (and I would assume your journalist research team) obviously spent the bare minimum if any time at all researching the status and plight of Southern African Elephants as Mr.Morgan and his co-presenter know nothing about the subject matter or Thomson’s credentials. Their interview was based on their rather naive understanding of conservation, their misplaced emotions and the current Animal Rightists fuelled social media rhetoric surrounding Thomson.

What an opportunity was missed to actually dissect the facts surrounding the current crisis that not only Southern African Elephants are facing but all other species that share the same habitat.

Africa’s Elephants and people were served an injustice as an uninformed public gamble with their future based on the donor greed and the false emotive narrative fed to the public by the animal rights agenda.

Instead of degenerating into a shouting match your Mr. Morgan should have asked himself why after countless years of protection, hundreds of Millions of US Dollar donations and ivory bans Elephant numbers have “plunged from 1.3 million to just 400 thousand”.

His accusatory question to Thomson on culling in excess of 5000 elephants had as much weight as accusing an abattoir employee of mass murder of livestock.

Thomson was not involved in some deranged thrill seeking slaughter of elephant but on a government-sanctioned scientific based culling operation.

An opportunity was wasted to better inform your public of the crisis Southern Africa faces…

…and to offer a balanced view. I pray the attached documentary is at least watched (and shared) by a few to get a better understanding of the challenges we face as the current path could be the death warrant of Africa’s elephants and most of her wildlife.

Mr. Morgan stated that Thomson facts are disputed “by many people in conservation”, animal rightism is NOT conservation. Any half decent wildlife manager will understand the ramifications of a population exceeding it’s carrying capacity and the conservation principle of sustainable utilisation.

Good luck trying to translate herds of elephant not only thousands of kilometres but also on crumbling African roads. Again if a little research had been applied Morgan would have known Thomson could speak on the subject of translocation of large mammals from a professional point of view and not a layman’s.

Africa’s leading ecologist, biologists, wildlife managers and conservationists are pro sustainable use, hunting and culling please stop dictating to them how to manage Africa’s wildlife resources and stop buying into the animal rights false emotive narrative of “saving” species and ecosystem into extinction

I have read through comments on here and cannot believe the arrogance of some to comment on something they aren’t qualified for and don’t have the first idea of.

This is not about wearing your animal lover status on your sleeve this is potentially about the very future of not only Africa’s Elephants but also other species of fauna and flora that share the same habitat as these elephants.

Southern Africa’s elephants are not endangered but will be if we (Africans) don’t take responsibility and implement the right wildlife management practices to an exploding elephant population.

Elephant in Southern Africa have far exceeded their carrying capacity (stocking rate) and are heading towards an ecological disaster which will have far-reaching consequences for not only the elephants but all animals that survive on a rapidly declining food source.

Sadly my comment will go down like a lead balloon with most as it is not in line with the rhetoric fed to first world society by “conservationists” and “environmentalists” of “endangered” elephants.

Elephants are endangered in parts of Africa but not in Southern Africa.

Interestingly enough many of the elephant populations that are endangered are endangered because these countries banned hunting which opened the doors to poachers.

In parts of Africa were elephants have no economic value to the people that share the same space as them they are seen as competition for limited food for their domestic livestock, a threat to peoples crops and more importantly a threat to these peoples very lives.

As foreign as this might sound to a rich (by African standards) Western industrialist I’m sure elephants would not look so attractive should they have free reign in any First World Country.


  1. Trevor Oertel – – not one wasted word.

    Piers Morgan does have his uses, believe it or not, but deriding a man who is recognised, the world over, as an authority on elephant management, isn’t one of them.

    The problem is and will always be, that TV personalities like PM believe themselves to be as butterflies, flitting from one flower to another, except that unlike butterflies, they only spread diseased and flawed propaganda.

    I did notice during the interview that PM softened his puerile tirade when he realised that he’d bitten off more than he could comfortably chew, but nonetheless, there will be a great many who will accept his bile as fact.

  2. Ryan Paul Lobo

    Piers Morgan is a pile of irresponsible, steaming, stupid cliche.

  3. Dr Peter Brothers

    Well said Trevor – as a wildlife veterinarian from South Africa who is passionate about conservation and has seen way too much elephant damage, I believe that it is crucial for the wider public (especially in first world countries who seem to want to dictate wildlife management practices to countries sitting with the problems) to understand the need for management, including consumptive management, and to research and understand that much of the theoretical management options presented are simply not feasible in practice.
    Keep up the good work Ron Thompson and TGA on trying to inform the wider public on wildlife conservation facts. In the modern world where man has created all the problems relating to wildlife conservation we are ethically bound to practice management of these man-made situations, as best possible. Sadly the days of wildlife living unhindered without the need for management are long gone, especially for a species such as elephant.

  4. hi, I am 16 and living in the UK and I want to be a safari guide.
    The hunter’s argument made complete sense to me and as a result, I support the culling in overpopulated areas, however, I am just wondering what would have naturally controlled elephant populations before the rifle.
    eg: would elephant populations have existed in boom-bust cycles as diseases quickly decimated the weaker elephants?

    I would really appreciate if someone could help me out,

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