The CEO of South Africa’s TRUE GREEN ALLIANCE – an NGO the main purpose of which is to create a properly informed public about the principles and practices of science-based wildlife management – calls out the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Barbara Creecy, for apparently selling South Africa’s sovereign right to manage its own wildlife to international non-profit organizations, for an apparent return of US$2,5million.
In this respect, according to the President of the International Wildlife Management Consortium (IWMC) (based in Switzerland), which is headed by a former Secretary-General of CITES (The Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species), the following pertains:
WHAT ARE SOVEREIGN RIGHTS?
ALL humans are born with fundamental rights that most constitutions fully recognize and protect. Only the holder of these rights can waive them, or accept that they are limited.
Governments are institutions formed to serve and protect human interests. Together, governments and their citizens comprise Sovereign States. Inherent to these States are rights which are called Sovereign Rights. These are fundamental to each nation within the international community. To preserve them, only the political system within that nation can decide on behalf of its people. These rights cannot tolerate outside interference. They can, in no way, be waived, diminished or reduced. They are fully recognised and protected by international law. These rights are so highly guarded that wars have been fought over them.
To abdicate these rights to institutions outside the democratic and legal process of a nation can be construed as a crime against the people.
The situation, as I understand it to be, is that negotiations are underway with two international non-profit organizations, both components of the biggest confidence industry the world has ever known (The Animal Rights movement), for them to be given the authority to determine and to execute elephant management programmes in Kruger National Park. If that is so, I have to wonder what SANParks (The South African National Parks Board) will be doing with the highly experienced scientific staff the Board has employed in Kruger, to carry out just that function?
The ecological (management) problem in Kruger National Park is that the elephant population has been allowed to grow exponentially since the 27 year culling programme (1967 – 1994) was terminated. Today, Kruger’s elephant population exceeds the sustainable elephant carrying capacity of its habitats by a factor of at least ten. The Kruger establishment, after nearly two decades of denial, have finally admitted that the elephant population probably now numbers 34 000. (I personally believe it is closer to 50 000 but let’s not argue that point now!). This, when the park’s sustainable elephant carrying capacity is no more than 3 500 (+/- 500).
So Kruger’s elephant numbers, in my estimate, are at least TEN TIMES more than the park’s habitats can sustainably carry.
This has resulted, since 1960, in the elephants killing off “more than 95 percent” of all the big “top canopy” trees in Kruger National Park. THIS is not a thumb-suck figure. It is a qualified assessment made by the Kruger National Park scientists themselves, based on their knowledge and observations over the last three decades.
And, last year, the TGA filmed the advanced state of the destruction of Kruger’s iconic baobab trees – which are said to grow to the ripe old age of 5 000 years. These facts tell us that the park’s critically important species diversity is now at very great risk.
Trees that are well on the road to extinction in the Kruger National Park include: baobabs; knobby-thorn trees; Umbrella thorn trees; the Algoa Thorn tree, some ten or twenty other acacia species; marula trees; winter thorn trees; leadwood trees, fig trees, kiaat trees, mature mopani trees; jackal berry trees, natal mahogany trees; and many, many more.
Animal and bird species under threat due to elephant pressure include: sable antelope; roan antelope; lichtenstein’s hartebeest; the martial, tawny and bateleur eagles; all the big snake eagles; three species of vultures; the Ground Hornbill; and a host of smaller bird and animal species whose habitats are in an advanced state of total destruction; a whole host of reptilians; and a myriad insects – including moths and butterflies – which will disappear without fanfare as the habitats totally and progressive turn to dust!
The problem is:
- The existing habitats in Kruger can no longer sustainably feed so many elephants;
- Kruger National Park is carrying, at least, 30 000 too many elephants;
- The over-taxed habitats are degrading and changing in character, ever more every year – and becoming ever more useless as specific habitat environments for many animal (and plant) species;
- Plant and animal species are ever more rapidly moving into extinction – and thus reducing the species diversity of South Africa’s most important wildlife heritage;
- Basically: All this is happening because the sustainable elephant carrying capacity of Kruger National Park has been greatly exceeded by far too many elephants for far too long a period of time, and because no adjustment has been made to elephant numbers since 1994. .
What is the answer to the list of issues (above) that identify the problem?
There is only ONE answer to all of them. Elephant numbers must be drastically reduced. And the number to which they must be reduced is to the “sustainable elephant carrying capacity” figure (which is 3 500+/-500.) There is no other solution that can save Kruger National Park into posterity. And South Africans have to take the bull by the horns and support such a science-based wildlife management operation.
There will be many people who wish to challenge my elephant carrying capacity figure. And they have the right to do so! But I have nothing to hide! So, I would like to explain to anybody and to everybody the validity on my calculations. It is easy to explain and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the equation. And we really need to get THAT matter accepted and placed on a shelf out of the way, before we expand the discussion further.
The elephant carrying capacity figure is key to everything else.
Ordinarily, this kind of wildlife management decision should be something that the Kruger scientists would determine; and it should be them who supervise the necessary management operations that follow. But THAT, it seems, is not to be!
Today, we have two international animal rights organizations – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – whose propaganda apparatus opens them both up to great criticism. They can both be legitimately branded, for example, as being part of international organized crime. This, according to the principles of the American RICO Act (The Racketeering Influenced and Criminal Organisations Act). Whatever else they may be, these two organizations are definitely NOT wildlife managers. They have absolutely no elephant management experience. Even so, it is apparently being considered that they be given the authority to determine WHAT the elephant problem is in Kruger National Park; and it is being considered that they also be authorised to implement their choice for its c
orrection. And they have, apparently, paid somebody in the South African Government, the sum of US$ 2,5 million for the privilege.
I object to this decision in the strongest possible terms and for many reasons.
I wish to point out to all loyal South Africans that HSUS and IFAW do not recognize the list of issues that identify the Kruger elephant management problem. They, basically, do not believe that “too many elephants IS a problem” and they advocate contraception as the solution to all Kruger National Park’s elephant woes. Furthermore, they seem to have been given the go-ahead to pursue their point of view by ‘someone in authority’.
The object of giving a female wild animal a contraceptive is to reduce (or to eliminate) its ability to produce babies. But the solution to the Kruger elephant problem is not simply to reduce the number of new calves that are born every year. The solution is to reduce the raw numbers of elephants that are eating the vegetation to extinction, and that cannot be done by injecting the females with contraceptive hormones.
The people who oppose culling are amateurs. They haven’t a clue what ‘management’ is all about. Their choosing contraception as the solution to Kruger’s too many elephants problem, however, is a consequence of the fact that they make their money, from the gullible publics of the international urban world, by telling lies and explaining that ‘they’ are ‘right’ because contraception, in their opinion, is the “only humane way to deal with Kruger’s too many elephants”. And they are hoping to dupe the uninformed public of the world that by reducing elephant conception they will be reducing the numbers of elephants in the game reserve. But they won’t. This whole salmagundi, therefore, is unconscionable.
I have no option, therefore, but to challenge Minister Creecy – on behalf of all honest and caring South Africans – to a public debate. The subject I propose will encompass all matters pertaining to the management needs of Kruger National Park’s excessive population of elephants. I make this suggestion in desperation because I don’t really want to ‘fight the ministerr’. I want her as an ally but she can never be that as long as she does not understand the management facts associated with Kruger’s elephant problem.
South Africa needs to know the truth behind this incredible debacle. So do I. I need to know how we came to this impossible impasse because I smell a rat in the mix. And I know all about the debate that is likely to follow because I have been through all this rigmarole – in detail – several times before. And I won’t be passed off with a ministerial representative of the Minister’s choice.
I want to debate this issue with the Minister herself. ONE ON ONE!
South Africa has the right to know the truth in this critically important issue.
And every South African needs to know if, what has happened, can be adjudged “a crime against the people of South Africa”.
Ron Thomson. CEO – TGA
21 October 2022.