Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Discussion on Elephant Management and poaching topics
Dzombo
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Dzombo » Wed May 16, 2018 5:36 pm

Lisbeth wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:37 pm
Nothing new! What is needed is a way to stop the number from growing. A few years ago there was a lot of talking about contraceptive methods and that it was too expensive. Nothing new on that front?
Cost was one issue.
But I also think there was there was some uncertainty of how the contraceptive methods would affect the behaviour/herd dynamics of the elephants

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Richprins
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Richprins » Wed May 16, 2018 5:43 pm

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Ginzy
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Ginzy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Hi All,

First post on the forum 0/*

Thought I would introduce myself with an interesting, scientific piece of information on elephants - animals very close to my heart.

This is the first scientific study ever conducted, using statistical techniques, which predicts what a natural population of elephants should be across the reserves of Africa. It takes into account water densities, poaching pressure and vegetation densities to construct a population model.

Interesting takeaways:

- For RSA locals, the predicted natural elephant population of Kruger National Park (assuming absolutely zero poaching), is approximately 50 000 elephants - a number which may surprise many. It will be interesting to see if the growth of elephant numbers in KNP approximates this, since the end of culling in 1994 we have indeed seen a tendency for great population growth from the initially 'unscientific' number of 7000 ellies for carrying capacity.
- Given poaching levels in Kruger for elephant (which is comparatively low when looking at other countries), the max population sustainable would be around 44 000

- Savanna elephant numbers in protected areas are only 25% of their expected values. The primary reason for this is poaching.

- The greatest deficit of elephants are in the Selous-Niassa region of Southern Tanzania/Northern Mozambique. There is a deficit of 150 000 elephants in this region, where poaching has plagued particularly badly over this vast area.

- The only park in Africa with a potential overpopulation is Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Here is the link https://conservationaction.co.za/wp-con ... values.pdf

- For those interested in the statistical methodology, look out for the word document in there ("S1") which goes into it.

:-)

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Lisbeth
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:35 pm

0/* Ginzy and welcome to the forum.

An interesting piece of information :ty: I thought that most of the elephants in Zimbabwe had been poached:-?
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Ginzy
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Ginzy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:43 pm

Thanks Lisbeth :)

Whilst there is poaching in Zimbabwe (and the poaching wave descending from East Africa is a big worry), it has not been high relative to the slaughters in Tanzania and Mozambique for example. Elephant populations are relatively ok.

You will see that Gonarezhou park, north of kruger and meant to be part of the GLTP, actually has a healthier density of elephant than Kruger does. It is less than a quarter the size of Kruger, but has over 10 000 elephants (almost 90% of ecological density).

If Limpopo NP manages to come right next door in Moz, it should be home to 30 000 elephants instead of the current 1 000 or so.

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Lisbeth
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:03 pm

How stupid 0*\ I had mixed Zimbabwe up with Mozambique 0-

Let's hope for the better. I love elephants too \O

I have heard a lot of talking of there being too many elephants in Kruger. Not true then -O-
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okie
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by okie » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:09 pm

Welcome to the forum Ginzy 0/*

This is certainly an interesting report by some well respected scientists \O But , the numbers mentioned do not necessarily make sense to me -- just call me an idiot that is not always easily convinced when someone starts waving numbers lol

You know , sometimes when I look at weather forecasts , then I often wonder if those who make these forecasts ever look out the window before they write up the forecast 0*\

For instance , Kruger NP covers an area of around 20 000 square kilometres , and to me ( idiot ) , it sounds somewhat absurd that the park should be able to sustain 50 000 elephants --- therefore 2,5 ellies for every 100 hectares of land in Kruger 0*\
Plus how many buffalo , plus how many zebra , and impala , etc etc .
Maybe those animals do not exist in a perfect ellie paradise :-?

As I say , call me idiot , but IMHO , someone like to play with zero's .

Hmmmmmm......... I wonder how this report could encourage poaching 0*\
Last KNP visit November 2017 KTP - August 2017.
Next KNP visit -- Hmmm....still thinking

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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Richprins » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:25 pm

Welcome, Ginzy! Glad you posted here! :twisted:


X#X

Why do you say Limpopo Park (Moz Transfrontier) should "come right"? :-?
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Ginzy
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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Ginzy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:42 pm

Hi Okie,

I must say I was surprised by the results too.

The best way to critique it would be to interrogate the methodology and the data. Quite an involved background in applied statistics is required, but one can follow the logic to a point if need be. It may be interesting if we could get some feedback from the authors?

In an untouched system, elephants do always dominate the large mammalian biomass (evolutionary speaking, I find this quite fascinating) - the question is by how much. The point you raise about 2.5 ellies per km^2 is really interesting - if we have any mammal ecologists on the forum I would love to hear their perspective. It probably comes down to this: Has the absence of the elephants from the 19th century given us a false ecological picture (ie is the 'altering' of the bush which we see as destructive actually represent the returning of the natural state in KNP which no living eyes have yet witnessed), or indeed do we need to worry? Unfortunately starting off from a base of virtually 0 following hunting means there indeed would have been a lot of unnatural ecological development in the absence of ellies.

According to Ron Thomson "The maximum number of 7000 for elephants was based upon a management policy decision made by the then director of the South African National Parks Board, Dr. Rocco Knobel, in 1965. He declared that the elephant and buffalo populations should "not be allowed to increase beyond their present numbers" until the water distribution development plan had been completed - at which point the elephant and buffalo culling programmes were to have been reviewed.

Note: The figure 7000 was not related to the sustainable carrying capacity of the Kruger elephant habitat"

One thing which I think the prevailing ecologists can agree on is that the original 7 000 magic number, which was almost a thumbsuck in its day in its scientific crudeness, is wrong.

It is interesting to note that just to the North of Kruger, Gonarezhou Park has achieved a density of over 2.0km^2.

Would love more feedback!

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Re: Elephant Numbers in Kruger

Post by Ginzy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Hi Richprins 0/*

Thanks!

I say 'come right' as its still pretty devastated following the civil war. Land mines have been cleared, and the fence between it and the north-eastern border for 50km has been removed for a few years now - but animal numbers are drastically low and need to recover (just 1000 elephants for example in an area half the size of Kruger). There are still quite a few communities along the rivers which may disturb the process (resettlement is a thorny issue of course)..and the spectre of poaching always looms.

The dream is one day to be able to drive across the border to enjoy the same densities as we see in KNP, continuing our northern lowveld voyages.

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