Thursday, May 29, 2008

What About Us?

I personally do not know how anybody can shoot an elephant. For any reason!

Elephant culling has been a hot topic in South Africa and abroad and is still one of those subjects that when it gets mentioned people get very emotional, very quickly. The fact that this practise, however it may be perceived, is being allowed again after 13 years has now again opened this controversial matter. I read a very interesting article in the latest edition of Getaway Magazine which explored elephant culling and this got me thinking.

Now opinions on this matter will differ greatly between people and I suppose if you ask 100 people their opinion you will get a 100 different answers. We keep on saying that elephants destroy the environment so much that is going to, if it has not already started to influence the future of other species whose habitat gets destroyed. Is this really the case? Can this be proven without a doubt?

There are scientists that believe that it would be very tough to actually prove that elephants have a negative and irreversible impact on the environment and that their populations are too large. We have all read the figures that state that the Kruger National Park can deal with a population of 7000 elephant but currently has more than 15000 but who decided these numbers initially?

Some of the new thoughts from scientists are that 7000 might be an aesthetic carrying capacity rather than an ecologically based number. If this is the case, who are we to start talking about culling elephants who are, let’s be honest, only doing what they are naturally supposed to do and what we will drive for hours to see them do!

Now the major problem with elephant populations in the wild seems to be the following:

- Elephant transform their environment, possibly irreversibly so.

- Elephant populations do not seem to self-regulate. Leave them, they multiply.

For these reasons we, as a collective, are again starting to talk about culling these amazing animals – quite a disturbing thought. Stop for just one second and think of only one other species on the planet that meets the above requirements.

Transforms environment irreversibly.

Does not self-regulate numbers - even with contraception.


So what about us?

Quite an interesting and ongoing debate and you can read more in the latest Getaway Magazine. As always I look forward to hearing from you!



Mike - Fenphotography said...

Hi Gerry, very interesting reading and I could go quite a bit but things like this really get me, even the word cull just sends shivers down my spine, as you say we are quite happy to flatten land and chop down trees and then elephants do it as part of their nature and its a problem, if humans weren't here I'm sure they would get on fine. Apologies for the rant.
I have been checking out your photos on your other site and they are truly stunning, good on yeh.

M said...

Elephant culling is reprehensible!

It makes me wild and just plain pisses me off (not quite as eloquent the writer as you are). The fact that they are doing this because the elephant is sold called destroying the habitat is ludachrist! How about people – what exactly are they doing. I recall our visit to Madikwe and witnessed first hand what man did many years ago by eliminating the animals and ruining the land, only to leave it for the next generation to try and redeem.

I wish our voices carried load enough for governments to listen.

Thanks for the great photos, wonderful personality, infinite information and incredible insight. I look forward to the next blog!!

Photo-Africa said...

Thanks for the comments!

A very hot topic and great to see we all share the same ideas!!

Avril Brand said...

Your question: 'what about us' say it all!

We humans are the most destructive, selfish and arrogant life form on this earth - and oh boy! we multiply like maggots.

I cannot be objective about culling animals and I am very suspicious about why the elephant numbers were allowed to become a 'problem' in the first place.

Which leads me to think: what will be done with the ivory after the cull???

And will the culling take place if one of the requirements is the total destruction of the ivory and an absolute ban on any ivory trade?

I apologize if I sound cynical but I stopped believing political spin many many years ago.