Why Kruger’s Elephants will Cause the Extinction of its Black Rhinos!
(1). Black rhinos are solitary and nocturnal animals. They spend the entire night foraging and they hide away in thick “cover”, where they sleep soundly (8.a.m. to 4.p.m.), every day. Black rhino population density is entirely dependent on the amount of “relative” cover within five kilometres of permanent water during the dry season. “Cover” (for hiding away purposes, not for eating), therefore, is an essential element of black rhino habitats.
(2). To protect their babies from spotted hyenas (which are the biggest killers of black rhinos), mother rhinos secrete their babies in isolated places, and in thick bush, when they go down to the waterholes, every night, to drink. Without adequate cover within two kilometres of water, therefore, not one single black rhino calf will survive its first twelve months of life. Exposed and left alone for about an hour every night, sooner or later, the hyenas will find these very vulnerable calves and kill them.
(3). At the height of the dry season, black rhinos never wander further than about five kilometres from water; and elephants – when their population numbers are not controlled – can, and do, remove all edible plants and all vegetative cover for distances up to 25 kilometres from water.
Ipso facto – by eliminating these vital survival features of black rhino habitats (food and vegetative cover – but especially cover) – Kruger National Park’s “too-many-elephants” will cause the extinction its black rhinos without a single poacher’s bullet being fired!
The only way to stop all this happening is to reduce the number of elephants in Kruger National Park to the level of the game reserve’s natural elephant carrying capacity.
2 thoughts on “Why Kruger’s Elephants will Cause the Extinction of its Black Rhinos!”
Has the management plan for Kruger been adapted for short term gain?
Elephant numbers were controlled – what has happened to that?
Tourists want to see elephant and lion!?
What has happened to the Best Conservation managed National park in the world?
Who are the present policy makers?
ALL our national parks SHOULD be being managed – specifically – for the maintenance of their species diversity. Nothing else is more important. That was the mandate handed down to SANParks many years ago by an old South African parliament. It has never been rescinded. By that dictate is no longer in force. “Things” however, “changed along the way”. Our national parks were certainly NOT created for the uncontrolled proliferation of elephants!
If you want to learn something about the history of the Kruger National Park’s elephant management saga there is a series of 14 continuous blogs covering this subject on the TGA’s website: https://www.mahohboh.org. Look them up!
Whether tourists want to see elephants and lions is NOT the issue. Sustainable tourism can ONLY be created on top of sustainable ecosystems and when a game reserve is carrying 8 eight times the number of elephants that it should be carrying, the ecosystem is far from being stable. So I am haunted by the vision of castles crumbling!
Whoever told you that Kruger National Park was ever “the best conservation managed national park in the world?” Look up the above mentioned blog series and make up you own mind on that statement.
“Who are the present policy makers is a good question?” You might get a surprise when you read these blogs. Surely you have heard the old adage: “Follow the money?”