The Elephant debate.

Old Oct 26th 2004, 6:28 pm
  #1  
Corné
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Posts: n/a
Default The Elephant debate.

Does anyone know when the Elephant debate ends? I thought it lasted 1 year,
after which will be decided wether culling will continue?

Thanks,
Corné.

www.amukela.com
 
Old Oct 29th 2004, 3:45 am
  #2  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 08:28:01 +0200, "Corné" <[email protected]>
wrote:

    >Does anyone know when the Elephant debate ends? I thought it lasted 1 year,
    >after which will be decided wether culling will continue?

Corné,

aren't they culling already again? Anyway, in southern Africa
the question is not whether or not to cull, the question is only
when and how much.

The only alternative there, short of effective contraceptives
for elephants, would be effective fencing, but elephants are too
clever to let themselves be stopped by a fence. Perhaps the
people erect high-tech electrical fences one day, but that again
requires a high level of expertise and maintenance.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Oct 29th 2004, 1:44 pm
  #3  
Scott Elliot
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

"Hans-Georg Michna" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 08:28:01 +0200, "Corné" <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    >>Does anyone know when the Elephant debate ends? I thought it lasted 1
    >>year,
    >>after which will be decided wether culling will continue?
    > Corné,
    > aren't they culling already again? Anyway, in southern Africa
    > the question is not whether or not to cull, the question is only
    > when and how much.
    > The only alternative there, short of effective contraceptives
    > for elephants, would be effective fencing, but elephants are too
    > clever to let themselves be stopped by a fence. Perhaps the
    > people erect high-tech electrical fences one day, but that again
    > requires a high level of expertise and maintenance.
    > Hans-Georg

Fences are not going to help with the problem of over-population of
elephants destroying the environment.

When I was in Hwange, Zimbabwe several years ago I saw a few areas that
looked like they had been subjected to intensive bombing. The elephants had
knocked down just about every standing tree.

It is no longer possible to let elephants just wander wherever they want on
the African continent so they will be confined to parks and preserves. In
the long term it will then be necessary to control populations if we don't
want the more cruel option of self control by starvation when the population
exceeds the carrying capacity of those areas.

Birth control would be a humane option, but culling family groups is
probably the easiest to administer. I believe they prefer to take out whole
family groups rather than a few animals from a number of families because
the surviving families react better. If they are going to cull, there will
be ivory to be disposed of. If the proceeds could be put back into
management of the parks it would help make them more viable in some poverty
stricken areas. The danger of course is that the profits would go to a few
government officials pockets and the sale of legitimate ivory would become a
cover for the sale of poached and over-harvested animals.

Scott
 
Old Nov 1st 2004, 2:40 am
  #4  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >Fences are not going to help with the problem of over-population of
    >elephants destroying the environment.
    >When I was in Hwange, Zimbabwe several years ago I saw a few areas that
    >looked like they had been subjected to intensive bombing. The elephants had
    >knocked down just about every standing tree.

Scott,

this has to be sheer nonsense, because the elephants have been
there for millions of years. They were there before humans
existed.

Elephants certainly shape their environment to some extent, but
there is a balance of nature which even they cannot topple.

What you have seen is not the product of just the elephants.
They do contribute to it, but I can blindly put a bet on things
being much more complex than what you are trying to describe.

    >It is no longer possible to let elephants just wander wherever they want on
    >the African continent so they will be confined to parks and preserves. In
    >the long term it will then be necessary to control populations if we don't
    >want the more cruel option of self control by starvation when the population
    >exceeds the carrying capacity of those areas.

The population can never exceed the carrying capacity for long,
obviously. But it takes a second thought to understand this.

The "cruel option of self-control by starvation" is another
myth, sometimes put forward by culling proponents. The truth is
a bit more refined. Elephants do not breed when they starve.
They already have their own birth control and had it also before
humans existed.

Even other species, that do control their numbers partly by
starvation (like lions), do not constantly look starved. The
reason is that animals starve and die only during the worst
draughts (or during the worst wet seasons for some predators
like, again, lions). Most of the times are good for them, so
they usually look and are healthy and reasonably or even well
fed.

The real problem is different. It is that many of us do not want
untouched, primeval nature. (Though I do.) Many of us want
managed nature, beautiful lush, green parks with a few beautiful
picture-book elephants. And we want them to stay within their
shrinking gardens, away from the fields of the ever-expanding
human settlements. This, of course, can only be achieved through
constant human "management". More precisely, through killing
elephants.

I personally have a very different attitude. I would like to
keep large areas entirely untouched and leave them to nature.
Humans should be able to visit these areas, but only if they
leave them essentially untouched. But of course most people will
not listen to me or to others who think the same way. But the
least I can do is uncover the lies and misinformation due to
lack of understanding.

I will not even to try to go into the question whether elephants
are sentient beings, and whether it would therefore be immoral
to kill them.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 1st 2004, 8:03 am
  #5  
Liz
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

In message <[email protected]>
Hans-Georg Michna <[email protected]> wrote:


    >
    > I personally have a very different attitude. I would like to
    > keep large areas entirely untouched and leave them to nature.
    > Humans should be able to visit these areas, but only if they
    > leave them essentially untouched.

Well, yes, but it's easy for us to say that when our ancestors have already
ruined our natural history and it isn't an issue for us at all. So we
inherit all the material benefits, as it were, of our ancestors ruination of
nature but want to deny these benefits to the people who still live in a
more natural continent?

It's getting the balance right which is so difficult.

I also hate to think of elephants being killed, obviously.
The 'starvation as the only result of not culling' argument is also used
here as a justification of red deer culling, but I haven't read any
scientific opposition to the theory as far as deer are concerned.
Maybe deer can't regulate their reproduction in the same way as elephants?

Slainte

Liz

--
Virtual Liz now at http://www.v-liz.com
Kenya; Tanzania; Namibia; India; Seychelles; Galapagos
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
 
Old Nov 1st 2004, 1:41 pm
  #6  
Scott Elliot
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

Hans-Georg,

I appreciate your idealism and I too would love to see vast preserves where
a natural balance can occur.

Africa however belongs to the Africans and they have concerns other than
nature preserves, such as agriculture, industry and politics. They will
decide what land will be set aside for the use of elephants.

In prehistoric Africa elephants wandered in very long migration paths. This
enabled them to keep moving and prevented over use of any specific area.
Obviously something controlled their population over time. I certainly
don't know the mechanism, whether it was drought, disease or some other
factor such as natural reproduction limitations. It does not appear that
predation was a significant factor.

Now elephant are confined to areas that are much smaller than their original
natural ranges. Relatively small areas have been set aside to preserve
samples of Africa as it was. Certainly these small areas could be left to
develop an ecological balance, but that balance would not be the same that
developed when animals that shape the environment, to the extent that
elephants do, could range over much larger areas.

That brings the dilemma, do we want these parks to preserve the old Africa
or do we want to develop a new ecology that is formed by an interaction of
the new range limitations and the old native species. Unlimited elephants
in small areas that would likely lead to more open savannah grasslands with
scattered trees and the disappearance of naturally occurring animals that
depend on more dense forests. That may not be the ecosystem the park was
established to protect. If we want to see the natural ecology, we may have
to manage some of the major factors that shape it, and that includes
elephant.

Unfortunately, man has not proven to be very good at managing natural
environments (or unnatural environments for that matter), but management
techniques are improving. An example of this is fire that has traditionally
been suppressed in parks. The lack of fire has then led to unintended
changes in ecotypes. However, we do learn and if you now go to parks such
as Kruger in Africa or Banff in America you will see areas where fire has
been allowed to occur and the natural fire formed environment allowed to
re-establish itself.

There are many experienced biologists, ecologists and other specialists that
work on maintaining parks. The best of these people combine the knowledge
gained through modern science with the native knowledge of aboriginal
populations to manage parks to meet the objectives for which the parks were
established. If these well trained people say elephant populations have to
be controlled, I believe them.

I am sorry you feel this is nonsense, but the people charged with managing
the natural parks seem to feel it is necessary. I am certain that they have
much more knowledge of the subject than either you or I.

Scott

"Hans-Georg Michna" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Fences are not going to help with the problem of over-population of
    >>elephants destroying the environment.
    >>When I was in Hwange, Zimbabwe several years ago I saw a few areas that
    >>looked like they had been subjected to intensive bombing. The elephants
    >>had
    >>knocked down just about every standing tree.
    > Scott,
    > this has to be sheer nonsense, because the elephants have been
    > there for millions of years. They were there before humans
    > existed.
    > Elephants certainly shape their environment to some extent, but
    > there is a balance of nature which even they cannot topple.
    > What you have seen is not the product of just the elephants.
    > They do contribute to it, but I can blindly put a bet on things
    > being much more complex than what you are trying to describe.
    >>It is no longer possible to let elephants just wander wherever they want
    >>on
    >>the African continent so they will be confined to parks and preserves. In
    >>the long term it will then be necessary to control populations if we don't
    >>want the more cruel option of self control by starvation when the
    >>population
    >>exceeds the carrying capacity of those areas.
    > The population can never exceed the carrying capacity for long,
    > obviously. But it takes a second thought to understand this.
    > The "cruel option of self-control by starvation" is another
    > myth, sometimes put forward by culling proponents. The truth is
    > a bit more refined. Elephants do not breed when they starve.
    > They already have their own birth control and had it also before
    > humans existed.
    > Even other species, that do control their numbers partly by
    > starvation (like lions), do not constantly look starved. The
    > reason is that animals starve and die only during the worst
    > draughts (or during the worst wet seasons for some predators
    > like, again, lions). Most of the times are good for them, so
    > they usually look and are healthy and reasonably or even well
    > fed.
    > The real problem is different. It is that many of us do not want
    > untouched, primeval nature. (Though I do.) Many of us want
    > managed nature, beautiful lush, green parks with a few beautiful
    > picture-book elephants. And we want them to stay within their
    > shrinking gardens, away from the fields of the ever-expanding
    > human settlements. This, of course, can only be achieved through
    > constant human "management". More precisely, through killing
    > elephants.
    > I personally have a very different attitude. I would like to
    > keep large areas entirely untouched and leave them to nature.
    > Humans should be able to visit these areas, but only if they
    > leave them essentially untouched. But of course most people will
    > not listen to me or to others who think the same way. But the
    > least I can do is uncover the lies and misinformation due to
    > lack of understanding.
    > I will not even to try to go into the question whether elephants
    > are sentient beings, and whether it would therefore be immoral
    > to kill them.
    > Hans-Georg
 
Old Nov 1st 2004, 10:24 pm
  #7  
Sportsfan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

"Hans-Georg Michna" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:

    > The "cruel option of self-control by starvation" is another
    > myth, sometimes put forward by culling proponents. The truth is
    > a bit more refined. Elephants do not breed when they starve.
    > They already have their own birth control and had it also before
    > humans existed.

Hans
I'm afraid I agree with many rangers in the Kruger who
have devoted many lifetimes living with nature, and they
all recommend culling. Elephants do destroy the bush
and when the rain doesn't come the flora just cannot
cope. Starvation does occur within certain areas that
are over populated. As the Kruger is fast becoming since
green people have made it politically incorrect to cull.
snip
    > But the
    > least I can do is uncover the lies and misinformation due to
    > lack of understanding.

What qualifies you, to say that people in favour of culling
are spreading lies and misinformation, do you believe you know
better than rangers with 30 years of experience. ?
    > I will not even to try to go into the question whether elephants
    > are sentient beings, and whether it would therefore be immoral
    > to kill them.
    > Hans-Georg
    > --
    > No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 2nd 2004, 1:40 am
  #8  
Jan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

"sportsfan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > "Hans-Georg Michna" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
    > > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > > The "cruel option of self-control by starvation" is another
    > > myth, sometimes put forward by culling proponents. The truth is
    > > a bit more refined. Elephants do not breed when they starve.
    > > They already have their own birth control and had it also before
    > > humans existed.
    > Hans
    > I'm afraid I agree with many rangers in the Kruger who
    > have devoted many lifetimes living with nature, and they
    > all recommend culling. Elephants do destroy the bush
    > and when the rain doesn't come the flora just cannot
    > cope. Starvation does occur within certain areas that
    > are over populated. As the Kruger is fast becoming since
    > green people have made it politically incorrect to cull.
    > snip
    > >
    > > But the
    > > least I can do is uncover the lies and misinformation due to
    > > lack of understanding.
    > What qualifies you, to say that people in favour of culling
    > are spreading lies and misinformation, do you believe you know
    > better than rangers with 30 years of experience. ?
    > >
    > > I will not even to try to go into the question whether elephants
    > > are sentient beings, and whether it would therefore be immoral
    > > to kill them.
    > >
    > > Hans-Georg
    > >
    > > --
    > > No mail, please.

I heard the same discussion in 1995, when I visited Zimbabwe/Botswana.

Since tourist don't like starving elephants, so there were a lot of
artificial wells in the parks to give the elephants water.
As a result elephants will never die from starvation because there is not
enough water.
The herds of elephants were growing and they were scaring away other animals
from the water.

I don't thinks waiting until all trees and plants have gone (and elephants
starve because there is no food) is an option.

In my opinion, we either let the elephants starve or we have to
shoot/displace them (or use some kind of birth control).

Jan
 
Old Nov 2nd 2004, 7:54 am
  #9  
Sportsfan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

"Jan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > "sportsfan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > "Hans-Georg Michna" <[email protected]> wrote in
message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > > > On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 01:44:52 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
    > > > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > >
snip
    > I heard the same discussion in 1995, when I visited Zimbabwe/Botswana.
    > Since tourist don't like starving elephants, so there were a lot of
    > artificial wells in the parks to give the elephants water.
    > As a result elephants will never die from starvation because there is not
    > enough water.
    > The herds of elephants were growing and they were scaring away other
animals
    > from the water.
    > I don't thinks waiting until all trees and plants have gone (and elephants
    > starve because there is no food) is an option.
    > In my opinion, we either let the elephants starve or we have to
    > shoot/displace them (or use some kind of birth control).

No one wants to have to cull the Elephants as you rightly say,
and possibly your idea of birth control may be the compromise
that would satisfy all parties.
It is an issue that needs to be decided on and phased in quickly
as many parks are stretched in their capacity to sustain the large
populations of Elephants. At least Kruger has a respite because
of the extension into Mozambique, has given the Elephant population
a greater area to sustain them.
Richard

    > Jan
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 3:47 am
  #10  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Mon, 01 Nov 2004 21:03:21 GMT, Liz <[email protected]> wrote:

    >In message <[email protected]>
    > Hans-Georg Michna <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> I personally have a very different attitude. I would like to
    >> keep large areas entirely untouched and leave them to nature.
    >> Humans should be able to visit these areas, but only if they
    >> leave them essentially untouched.

    >Well, yes, but it's easy for us to say that when our ancestors have already
    >ruined our natural history and it isn't an issue for us at all. So we
    >inherit all the material benefits, as it were, of our ancestors ruination of
    >nature but want to deny these benefits to the people who still live in a
    >more natural continent?

Liz,

let me put it this way: I would pay for it.

Actually I am already paying for it to some extent.

But I know that the world is not waiting for my advice. (:-)

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 3:47 am
  #11  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Tue, 02 Nov 2004 02:41:10 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >There are many experienced biologists, ecologists and other specialists that
    >work on maintaining parks. The best of these people combine the knowledge
    >gained through modern science with the native knowledge of aboriginal
    >populations to manage parks to meet the objectives for which the parks were
    >established. If these well trained people say elephant populations have to
    >be controlled, I believe them.
    >I am sorry you feel this is nonsense, but the people charged with managing
    >the natural parks seem to feel it is necessary. I am certain that they have
    >much more knowledge of the subject than either you or I.

Scott,

maybe, maybe not. Looking at the history of mankind, I am very
skeptical when it comes humans trying to manage of complex
systems.

My nonsense comment was not a feeling, it was a logical
conclusion to the text as it was posted. When people say that
elephants in managed confinements need culling to maintain some
artificial, unnatural balance, I might agree.

By the way, in Kenya elephants still migrate through the huge
Tsavo area, from there through some other areas to Amboseli,
then across the border to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and
through the surrounding areas. This constitutes at least an area
with a diameter of several hundreds of kilometers, and research
shows that at least some of the elephants are indeed making use
of this wide migration area.

Some of these areas are inhabited, so there is some degree of
mutual tolerance.

Unfortunately things are getting worse as the human population
grows and as agriculture is intensified, but at least we have a
positive example here. There is no culling in Kenya, and I hope
that it will stay that way.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 3:47 am
  #12  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 15:40:48 +0100, "Jan" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Since tourist don't like starving elephants, so there were a lot of
    >artificial wells in the parks to give the elephants water.
    >As a result elephants will never die from starvation because there is not
    >enough water.
    >The herds of elephants were growing and they were scaring away other animals
    >from the water.
    >I don't thinks waiting until all trees and plants have gone (and elephants
    >starve because there is no food) is an option.
    >In my opinion, we either let the elephants starve or we have to
    >shoot/displace them (or use some kind of birth control).

Jan,

to me this still seems quite simplified, because, as I already
tried to explain, elephants do not frequently starve, for more
than one reason.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 3:47 am
  #13  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 13:24:10 +0200, "sportsfan"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >I'm afraid I agree with many rangers in the Kruger who
    >have devoted many lifetimes living with nature, and they
    >all recommend culling. Elephants do destroy the bush
    >and when the rain doesn't come the flora just cannot
    >cope. Starvation does occur within certain areas that
    >are over populated. As the Kruger is fast becoming since
    >green people have made it politically incorrect to cull.

Something is missing here. You still have to explain why
elephants didn't "need culling" for many millions of years, and
suddenly now they do.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 4:03 am
  #14  
Hans-Georg Michna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

On Tue, 02 Nov 2004 02:41:10 GMT, "Scott Elliot"
<[email protected]> wrote:

    >There are many experienced biologists, ecologists and other specialists that
    >work on maintaining parks. The best of these people combine the knowledge
    >gained through modern science with the native knowledge of aboriginal
    >populations to manage parks to meet the objectives for which the parks were
    >established. If these well trained people say elephant populations have to
    >be controlled, I believe them.
    >I am sorry you feel this is nonsense, but the people charged with managing
    >the natural parks seem to feel it is necessary. I am certain that they have
    >much more knowledge of the subject than either you or I.

Scott,

maybe, maybe not. Looking at the history of mankind, I am very
skeptical when it comes to humans trying to manage complex
systems.

My nonsense comment was not a feeling, it was a logical
conclusion to the text as it was posted. When people say that
elephants in managed confinements need culling to maintain some
artificial, unnatural balance, I might agree.

By the way, in Kenya elephants still migrate through the huge
Tsavo area, from there through some other areas to Amboseli,
then across the border to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and
through the surrounding areas. This constitutes at least an area
with a diameter of several hundreds of kilometers, and research
shows that at least some of the elephants are indeed making use
of this wide migration area.

Some of these areas are inhabited, so there is some degree of
mutual tolerance.

Unfortunately things are getting worse as the human population
grows and as agriculture is intensified, but at least we have a
positive example here. There is no culling in Kenya, and I hope
that it will stay that way.

Hans-Georg

--
No mail, please.
 
Old Nov 4th 2004, 8:09 am
  #15  
Johan W. Elzenga
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Elephant debate.

Hans-Georg Michna <[email protected]> wrote:

    > >I'm afraid I agree with many rangers in the Kruger who
    > >have devoted many lifetimes living with nature, and they
    > >all recommend culling. Elephants do destroy the bush
    > >and when the rain doesn't come the flora just cannot
    > >cope. Starvation does occur within certain areas that
    > >are over populated. As the Kruger is fast becoming since
    > >green people have made it politically incorrect to cull.
    >
    > Something is missing here. You still have to explain why
    > elephants didn't "need culling" for many millions of years, and
    > suddenly now they do.

Because they could roam free for millions of years, and now that is no
longer possible.


--
Johan W. Elzenga johan<<at>>johanfoto.nl
Editor / Photographer http://www.johanfoto.nl/
 

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