The Reason Why the Raindrop is so Important in Elephant Management

When a game reserve is carrying too many elephants, however, the elephants smash the trees to the ground; they rip up the roots; and they eat every palatable source of food that they can find during the hot dry season – and the ground is left bare and unprotected from the ravishes of the trillions of raindrops that fall during every tropical rainstorm.  And when each raindrops hit the bare ground it explodes outwards and upwards – its kinetic energy loosening all the surface soil particles and washing them away into the nearest river.

And when the soil has thus been all washed away, there will be no substrate left in which any kind of plant can grow; and without plants there will be nothing for the animals to eat – so they will starve to death.  And, ultimately even the elephants will die.

So this is the reason why the raindrop is so important in elephant management.  It can bring much needed water to the plants that are growing in the ground – without which the plants will not survive; or – when all the plants have been killed off by too many elephants, rain will loosen and wash away all the topsoil and that in turn, will destroy all animal life in the game reserve.

Without soil, no plants will grow; and without plants there will be no animals.

So the lowly raindrop is of immense importance to our elephants and to the health, vigor and stability of our game reserves, because it brings both life and/or death to both plants and animals.  This little story explains in easy to understand terms, just why it is important for man to manage our elephant populations wisely and sustainably.



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 279 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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