Up TO 10,000 elephants, including whole families, are facing slaughter as South Africa prepares to end its ten-year ban on culling according to various news reports, including at Times Online.
The South Africa government is expecting an outcry from animal rights groups across the world and is trying to temper this through an 18-month ‘consultation period’ to precede the cull. The cull will involve rounding up and shooting entire family groups.
The cull is necessary because the thriving elephant population in the Kruger national park is eating itself out of vegetation and drinking itself out of water.
An adult elephant consumes about 170kg of vegetation a day. And this is what it produces …
The article in Times Online continues,
The inevitable outcry about the cull disguises South Africa’s remarkable achievements in bringing the Kruger elephants back from the brink of being wiped out. At the beginning of the 20th century there were only 50 or so wild elephants in the whole of South Africa.
Major James Stevenson-Hamilton, a short, stocky Scot, Laird of Fairholm in Lanarkshire, started the recovery when he created the Kruger Park in 1902 at the end of the Boer War. There are now 17,000 elephants in 31 separate South African reserves.
It is unknown how many elephants there are globally. It is generally accepted/quoted that in 1930s there were 5-10 million elephants in Africa. But by 1979 only 1.3 million. The current estimate is about 600,000. But I am not sure how any of the above figures were calculated/estimated.
I can’t find any information on elephants numbers at the CITES site.
It seems particularly sad if there are so few, that any have to be killed. Many of the Kenyan National Parks were being poached out when I was working there in the late 1980s and early 1990s.