World Elephant Day – A Critical Review of the Great Elephant Census

The Great Elephant Census (2016) provides insufficient information to properly gauge the true status of Africa’s elephant populations. The GEC figures presented, record the numbers of elephants counted across the length and breadth of Africa; but they omit vital information about the elephant carrying capacities (ECC) of the habitats that support them. And this is a very serious exclusion.

Elephant carrying capacity reflects the maximum number of elephants that a habitat can carry without them causing permanent damage to the vegetation; and the ECC – relative to the numbers of elephant that are actually being carried – determines whether or not the sanctuary’s biological diversity is being maintained or destroyed. Furthermore, if there are too many elephants their numbers will be unsustainable; the elephants will destroy their own habitat – and the vital habitats of every other species of wild animal that share the game reserve with them; biological diversity losses will occur; and the game reserve will end up becoming a desert.

Maintaining biodiversity is the single most important wildlife management objective of any national park! It supersedes, for example, any individual consideration for any other organism – including elephants. And there is ample evidence to support the view that every elephant population south of the Zambezi and Cunene rivers in southern Africa, is grossly excessive (far too many for the habitats to support). It is vital, therefore, that southern African society grasps this prickly nettle and resolves this problem before any more of our biological diversity is damaged.

Just counting elephants, therefore, is not the be-all and end-all of elephant management – or national park management (which go hand-in-hand) – in Africa. There is a whole lot more to “best practice” elephant management than simply counting legs and dividing by four.




Ron Thomson

RON THOMSON His passion, today, is concerned with creating a better informed society – better informed, that is, about “best practice” wildlife management and the wise and sustainable utilization of our wild living resources for the benefit of mankind. He has a strong and passionate commitment to exposing the menace and iniquities of the animal rights doctrine. He is a founding member of the True Green Alliance (TGA) and, for the duration of 2016, he was its President. In January 2017 he was appointed CEO. The TGA is affiliated to South Africa’s wildlife Industry insofar as it has undertaken to fight the industry’s battles to overcome pernicious opposition from the South African and international animal rights movement.

Ron Thomson has 155 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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