Lessons on elephant management from Kruger

Elephant management is a major debate in Southern Africa PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Elephant management is a major debate in Southern Africa PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Professor Rudi van Aarde’s elephant management plan for Kruger National Park has been officially in operation since 2006. But it actually began its process in 1994 = since the day the elephant-culling era came to an end.

The Kruger scientists call their new plan: “A Landscape Management Approach” to the so-called elephant management “problem”.

At the end of 1994, Kruger’s elephant population stood at 7000; and since that year they have bred “without constraint” – that is, without being annually culled. Today the greater Kruger elephant population stands at plus-or-minus 5000. In a previous blog I explained how I came to the conclusion that, when the habitats were healthy (c.1955), the sustainable elephant carrying capacity for Kruger National Park was 3 500. And the habitats are no longer “healthy”! They are a far cry from what they looked like in 1960.

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