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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Elephant management

A very interesting read about elephant numbers in South Africa.
If South Africa culls its elephants, it will bring down the wrath of armchair conservationists in Europe and America who have threatened to discourage tourism to any country that kills elephants.
Sounds familiar.
Such overseas sentiment has tended to dictate wildlife management decisions in Africa and is causing resentment among those who work in overstocked reserves.
One of the options for management being considered:
Laissez-faire: This "do-nothing policy" conflicts with the management-for-biodiversity option. Elephants tend to demolish other animals' habitats, which leads to losses of other species.
The GRAA believes that the adoption of a "do-nothing" policy "should be a considered management decision which fully recognises the risks to biodiversity".
The GRAA statement says it will support the final decisions, provided they are in the interests of sound holistic ecosystem conservation.
This is another interesting issue to follow.

The wrath of conservationists over culling elephants is because of the fact that there are plenty of countries in Africa which do not have enough elephants due to unsustainable hunting for the ivory trade, during the 1970s.

It therefore makes a great deal more sense for South Africa to trade surplus elephants than shoot them.

Elephants do not demolish other animals habitats.
Elephants are an intrinsic part of the complex web of savanna fauna of Africa. They help control forest encroachment by foraging on trees and therefore help protect the habitat of all the animals that have evolved to exist on Africa's open savannas.

The animal that is responsible for catastrophic habitat loss for all species everywhere on the planet is MAN.

Managment for biodiversity is very simple, humans need to live sustainably.

Only the grasping, truly mean spirited and ignorant have to invent endless animal scapegoats for mankind's wanton, unsustainable, destruction of a planetary life support system that scientists will admit they have precious little genuine understanding of.

This planet can continue to evolve with a biosystem that does not support mankind. Humanity would do well to remember that rather than deluding itself that technology will always save its butt!
I didn't take long for my own resident armchair conservationist from Europe to show up again.

> Managment for biodiversity is very simple, humans need to live sustainably.

Yup, it looks like you know what you're on about. What would the South Africans know, after all.
The South African tourist industry knows plenty -

'Creating more areas for tourists means that the existing tourist cake is going to be sliced thinner.'

Thats in South Africa itself, so obviously if you ship elephants to another African country that does not have them or has very few: the cake gets smaller, as well as thinner for South Africa.

However, if you 'cull' them instead you can make arrangements for 'trophy' hunters to do the culling, adding one lucrative new income stream. You can also push for a relaxation in the ivory trade so as not to 'waste' this by-product of the 'culling' process, adding another lucrative new income stream.

The countries without elephants will remain uncompetative.
Those countries with very few elephants will lose them (as poaching intensifies again when restrictions on the ivory trade are relaxed). This will reduce safari competion still further.
As a bonus the parks will look 'prettier' and this will attract new investment for luxury lodges for tourists to stay in.

South African business interests know exactly what they are talking about!!!

The fundamentals of the real problem are addressed in this quote, tucked away in the middle of the article.

'Range expansion: The acquisition of land to enlarge reserves.

"Apart from cost factors," says the report, "elephants and humans favour similar habitats, and therefore land will not easily become available.'

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