Ron Thomson LIVE on Loving Life with Scott Balson

Ron Thomson is going to be LIVE on YouTube

You are invited to listen to a live stream with Ron Thomson and Scott Balson in Australia on the YouTube channel Loving Life Live.
Thursday 25 February 2021 8PM South African Standard Time.

Connect to Scott’s YouTube Channel Loving Life Live to listen.
In the mean time here is the teaser for tomorrow night.

Topics for possible discussion on the proposed Scott Basson YouTube Channel

1. There are too many elephants in southern Africa. (i.e. in Africa south of the Zambezi and Cunene Rivers.

An explanation: The probable elephant carrying capacity of most game reserves in southern Africa is calculated to be something like one elephant per two square miles (or one elephant per five square kilometers).

Carrying capacity is defined as the MAXIMUM number of elephants a game reserve can ‘carry’ without causing permanent damage to the game reserve habitats.

Examples: Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park (which is 5 000 sq miles or 13 000 sq kilometers in extent) is currently carrying between 35 000 and 80 000 elephants (average, let’s say, of 50 000) when the carry capacity in 1960 was calculated to be ‘about’ 2 500. This means that if the population now numbers: 35 000 there are 14 TIMES too many elephants in this national park; if it is 50 000 there are 20 TIMES too many elephants; and if the number is 80 000 there are 32 TIMES the numbers of elephants that there should be.

Excessive populations like this destroy the habitats (and they turn them into deserts); and they eliminate the sanctuaries’ biological diversities.

Kruger National Park in South (8 000 sq miles or 20 000sq kilometers) has (had) a carrying capacity of only ‘about’ 3 500 – WHEN the habitats were still healthy (circa 1950s)(which I can explain and calculate for you quite easily). Scientific experts (like Dr Salomon Joubert – a one-time large mammal specialist scientist and past Director of Kruger National Park, claims that the current Kruger elephant population numbers something like 34 000. That means Kruger is carrying virtually 10 TIMES the number of elephants it should be carrying. And the population is still growing!

And, in Botswana, where the combined mega-elephant population in five adjoining countries probably numbers (in my estimation) in excess of 200 000, is carrying at least 20 TIMES too many elephants.

Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou (2000 square mile) Game Reserve is currently

carrying 14 000 elephants. It should (in my estimation) only be carrying 1000.

In all these game reserves the habitats have been trashed (by grossly too many elephants over the last 60 years); species of plants and animals have become locally extinct; and the habitats have deteriorated very greatly towards becoming a desert.

The scientists of Kruger National Park, for example, admit that, since 1960, the top canopy tree population in the park has declined by more than 95 percent (caused by too many elephants). That means that for every tall tree that is still standing in Kruger National Park today, there were more than 20 other big trees standing alongside it in 1960.

As a consequence, the grossly excessive Kruger elephant population now threatens many plant and animal species with local extinction. Major plant species so threatened are the baobab tree, many other trees (for example, the kiaat and the marula) and many small plants, too. And amongst the animals are the black rhino, the Martial Eagle, many other eagles, and the Ground Hornbill. Indeed, the black rhino will be rendered extinct in Kruger National Park without a single poacher’s bullet being fired. Why? Because the elephants are changing the black rhino’s critical habitat so badly, the species will not be able to successfully breed.

2. The Cecil the Lion controversy was based upon a string of blatant animal rightist NGO lies. I am busy writing a book about this at this very moment.

3. The lack of a legal market for rhino horn, derived from farmed white rhinos, is threatening the species with ultimate extinction.

4. The lack of a legal market in elephant ivory is threatening the long term survival of the African elephant in Africa, too.

5. The endangered species concept is a fallacy.

6. Hunting, including the now much maligned trophy hunting, is not threatening Africa’s wildlife at all. Quite the contrary. If hunting is banned by the western countries Africa’s wildlife will fade away into oblivion. Urban people in the West equate hunting with poaching and nothing could be further from the truth. This issue needs to be addressed properly with some good common sense argument.

7. The biggest poaching events in Africa since 1970 have all been committed by the political elites of Africa – who all used the rural village hunters in their poaching endeavours (giving them immunity from arrest). Countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia all have histories of huge poaching events which were all orchestrated by their presidents or vice-presidents, and or their families, friends and or political cronies. I can name many of them and can list their endeavours. Indeed, their names have already been publicized in the books that I write.

8. The solution to African wildlife management success is the wise and sustainable use of Africa’s wild living resources (plants and animals). It is not the ‘use’ of wildlife that threatens our wildlife but the sustainability of that use. Which is being denied Africa by animal rights interventions.

9. The international animal rights brigade is the biggest force working against the introduction of BEST PRACTICE wildlife management solutions on this continent. And they do this to ‘make money’ for themselves, for their NGOs. In terms of the American RICO Act (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act) if you tell a lie and make money out of that lie, THAT is constituted “Common Fraud”. If you commit that same fraught again inside a period of 10 years, it becomes a racket. And racketeering is constituted “organised crime” in America. Ipso Facto, the animal rights movement (as a whole – world-wide) can be called “organized crime”. And THAT is what Africa’s wildlife management programme is having to fight all the time. The whole world should be ashamed of itself by allowing this to happen.

10. CITES represents the biggest of all dangers to Africa’s wildlife because two thirds of its accredited NGO delegations are animal rightist in orientation. And those delegations have persuaded CITES to PROHIBIT wildlife trade. CITES, however, came into being in 1975 to help the sovereign states of the world to REGULATE their wildlife trade, NOT TO STOP IT. So “something” has gone very wrong with CITES and the world that continues to support it.

Ron Thomson. 22/02/2021



Some suggestions.

What “we” are tackling, and what you have offered me, is access to a world audience that is terribly confused about the rights and wrongs of what they erroneously call “conservation”.  And it is terribly important. Indeed the whole future of wildlife in Africa depends on our world audience grasping and understanding the FACTS about wild management in Africa…. Which is why I so readily agreed to be interviewed by you.

I am going to suggest, therefore…. If you don’t mind my impertinence…  that you ask me a number of questions that will hopefully bring clarity to our viewers minds; and allow me to expand on some wildlife management principles:-

What is ‘conservation’?

Our viewers believe that the word ‘conservation’ is a synonym for ‘wildlife management’ and it is not. Nevertheless, because this is how they ‘think’ it causes great confusion the world over. The word ‘conservation’ is, in fact one of the two functions of ‘wildlife management’ and it effectively equates to “The sustainable-use of a living resource”’. Culling is one facet of its interpretation…  as is hunting. The other (sister) function of wildlife management is ‘preservation’.

Let me explain. Wildlife management has its origins in the science of ECOLOGY and ecology is a study.

Ecology is the study of a living organism (i.e. a plant or an animal) – like an elephant  – and studies produce results.  One of the important results of an ecological study of an elephant population will be to determine if it is SAFE or UNSAFE.  If the population is SAFE it will have a healthy population number. Its numbers, however, will not have exceeded the carrying capacity of its habitat, and it will require culling every year to maintain the numbers in a stable state.  This is called CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT (i.e. WISE and SUSTAINABLE -USE) management. Good management will not allow a SAFE population to increase to the next level – which is EXCESSIVE. (Excessive populations  exist in numbers that are far in excess of the habitat’s carrying capacity.

If the population is UNSAFE it will be low in number (i.e. far below the carrying capacity level of the habitat) and it will also probably be declining in number every year, too.  UNSAFE populations require PROTECTION FROM ALL HARM MANAGEMENT . THIS is called PRESERVATION MANAGEMNENT and the purpose of preservation management is to return the population to a state of SAFETY.And when a population is returned to a SAFE status it will then change its management strategy (back to CONSERVATION).

EXCESSIVE elephant populations should be management according to a strategy called “POPULATION REDUCTION MANAGEMENT”. And population reduction management should aim to HALVE the elephant population every year – year in and year out – until the population numbers drop below the elephant carrying capacity of the habitat.

The African Savannah (or BUSH) elephant (Loxodonta africana) is reputed to have 150 quite distinct populations throughout its range (from Ethiopia to Cape Town).  Some of these populations are  UNSAFE: some of them are SAFE; others are GROSSLY EXCESSIVE.  The management that is applied to  each and every one of these populations requires that they, individually,  be managed according to their  very own “SAFETY STATUS”. So the range of management strategies that should be applied to the African elephant’s 150 populations will vary between ‘preservation” management; ‘conservation management’; and ‘population reduction management’.

Now consider this: When the two-thirds majority of accredited-animal-rights-NGOs at CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) demand that the African elephant be declared an ”Endangered Species” they are erroneously declaring that every single population of the  African Savannah Elephant on the continent is UNSAFE; and they are demanding that every single elephant population be managed in accordance with PRESERVATION management principles.

CITES tends to try to enforce the management of all wild animals on its lists AT THE SPECIES LEVEL – which is ridiculous. No species of animal can be managed at the species level.  An animal species can only be managed population by population according to each population’s SAFETY status. IPSO facto, the endangered species concept is a fallacy.  From a wildlife management point of view, there is no such thing as “an endangered species”.

This means that CITES is based upon a flawed foundation (look at the CITES name!!!!!).  So, most of its dictates cannot be vindicated. The same applies to the US Fish and Wild Servicebecause it also, is based on America’s very own “Endangered Species Act”.

What is ‘carrying capacity’?  It is the MAXIMUM number of elephants (or any other herbivore species) that a game reserve or habitat can carry without causing irreparable damage to the habitat. Why is carrying capacity important?  The five country’s contributing to the Botswana mega elephant population (Namibia, Angola, south eastern Zambia, Ngamiland (Botswana) and Hwange  are carrying between them something like 200 000 elephants.  And the first step population reduction management action should be to reduce this number by 50  percent; then by another 50 percent; then another 50 percent –every year – until the numbers return to a level that the habitats can once again sustainably carry.

I need to explain to readers how I came to determine the Kruger elephant carrying capacity.

What is ‘wildlife management’?

What are “products of the Land?”

What are wildlife cultures? And why are they important. America’s wildlife culture is “anti-market hunting” . South Africa’s wildlife culture is ‘commercial’. They are the antithesis of each other.  And this is a major cause of international polarisation with regard to what is right and what is wrong in the field of wildlife management in Africa. When over populated elephant cowherds run out of food, they suffer obviously from severely from starvation. Lactating mothers also stop producing milk. So, the most important and most frequent casualties are baby elephants which die by their hundreds.

The animal rightists say that hunting is an archaic pursuitand should be banned world-wide.  They say that all wildlife should be protected from the world’s blood-thirsty hunters (every single animal)! BUT wild animals never stop multiplying. The African elephant, for example, doubles its numbers easily inside ten years.  So in the year 2010, if an elephant population numbered 5 000, it would have reached 10 000 by the year 2020. And if the carrying capacity of the game reserve in which those elephants lived was just 5 000 – and nothing was done to reduce those numbers (back to 5000) – the elephants themselves would eat themselves into extinction. NOBODY mentions this reality but it is a very real and important question.  And every other species of wild animal is doing exactly the same thing. WHAT solution do the animal rightists have to this very pertinent state of affairs? The only way to reduce these animals is to shoot them! So why should they not be hunted? The animal rights insist all hunting should be stopped.

I then wish to recite a report by some of the world’s leading psychologists who all support hunting.

The world does not support trophy hunting.  What are the facts? (To explain, I divide all animal life-spans into 4 equal quarters). If you divide an elephants life into sections of 15 years. First 15 years the babies are growing up. Second 15 years – juveniles move into sub-adulthood but they can’t compete with bulls in their prime (30 to 45 year olds); third 15 years bulls are in their prime. This is when most mating takes place. Fourth 15 year bulls move into a period of senility and they die of starvation because they lose all their molar teeth and cannot masticate. Bulls keep growing their tusks until they die.  So however many old bulls with big ivory are shot, it doesn’t affect the elephant gene pool. So, all the animal rightists’ objections to the shooting of old bulls with big ivory is just toothless chatter.

The poaching of Africa’s big game animals in the post colonial era! Who are these poachers? They are the political elites of Kenya (Ngina Kenyatta and other Kenyatta family members) (1970-1989); The Presidents of Tanzania (1977 to 2012) (including Jakaya Kikwete) (1977 to 2012); The political elites of Mozambique (I have no names – only rumour); The Vice President of Zimbabwe, Simon Muzenda and senior National Parks staff; and the President of Zambia (Kenneth Kaunda). The numbers rose into their hundreds of thousands of elephants and tens of thousands of black rhinos. Ngina Kenyatta (The first lady in the land at that time) is reputed to have reduced Kenya’s elephant numbers from 275 000 to 20 000 between 1970 and 1989; and in the 1970s she is alleged to had shot 10 000 black rhinos, too.

What is the difference between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare?

Animal rightists aim to ABOLISH all animal ‘uses’ by man. The Animal rightists produce voluminous propaganda based on lies. Then they solicit funds from the public to make the alleged lies disappear.  THAT represents “common fraud”. If a common fraud is repeated a second time in ten years it becomes a racket. And in terms of the American Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, racketeering ISorganised crime. IPSO FACTO animal rightis-ism is the most destructive force working against BEST PRACTICE wildlife management in Africa.  This needs a good discussion. The ‘Cecil the Lion’ issue is a good example of how by using blatant lies in their propaganda the animal rightists can upset the whole world. Cecil’s story was based on lies!






Ron Thomson

I am NOT a ‘trophy hunter’ - and never have been. I am not involved in the trophy hunting safari business. I am also not a game rancher. But I have ‘administratively controlled’ professional hunters and safari outfitters in my capacity as a government game warden. I am an 80 year old ex-game warden with 60 years of continuous experience in hands-on wildlife management, and national park management, in Africa (1959 to 2019). In breakdown, I have 24 years experience in the management of national parks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and in the management of the wild animal populations that lived inside those national parks; one year as the Chief Nature Conservation of the Ciskei in South Africa; three years as Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa; and I worked for three years as a professional hunter in the South African Great Karoo (taking foreign hunters on quests for plains game trophies). I discovered, however, that professional hunting was not my forte. I worked as an investigative wildlife journalist for 30 years in South Africa. I have written fifteen books and hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of wildlife management and big game hunting in Africa. Five of my books are university-level text books on wildlife management. I am a university-trained ecologist; was a member of the Institute of Biology (London) for 20 years; and was a registered chartered biologist for the European Union for 20 years. I have VAST experience in the “management hunting” of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and hippos (as part of my official national park work in the control of problem animals); and I pioneered the capture of black rhino in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley (1964 - 1970). My university thesis was entitled: “The Factors Affecting the Survival and Distribution of Black Rhinos in Rhodesia”. Look at my personal website if you want any further details about my experience:

Ron Thomson has 217 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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