Thursday, November 17, 2005

Elephant Explosion Triggers Cull Row: Another Example that Shows the Ridiculous Nature of the Kill Argument when Looking at "Overpopulation"

We see it time and time again - a population of some species is defined as overpopulated. Then, the only response is to kill. Well, let's consider two important things when showing the ridiculous nature of the kill argument:

One, overpopulation mostly does not occur. It is simply a population staying near to it's numbers, but human encroachment on their lands forces the species to have a smaller area to roam, and of course, puts them closer to human habitation. Being closer to human habitation makes humans mistakenly believe that the population has grown. Idiotic if you really look at it. Plus, if you look at it on the flip side, wouldn't it be more logical to say that the constant growth of the human population and its related encroachment would lead humans and the animals they are affecting to see that as overpopulation. After all, by this definition, humans have clearly expanded beyond their normal boundaries.

Which brings me to the second point:

If the argument is to cull or kill segments of a population of animal that has grown beyond their natural boundaries, then wouldn’t it logically follow from what I mentioned in the first point that the animal affected by this growth should argue for a cull? Well, if they could, and logic was maintained amongst all species, then yes, they logically could.

So, you see the ridiculous nature of the cull or kill argument. Management is the key. This is clearly stated in the following article. And, with the writing that follows the article. Please read all:

The first article: (another good response follows this article)

Elephant explosion triggers cull row
By Sam Wilson
BBC News

Kruger National Park's elephant population has nearly doubled
The systematic slaying of thousands of elephants is a subject always
likely to stir emotions.

So it has been in South Africa, where the government has opened a public
consultation on proposals to resume an elephant cull.

In the highly charged debate, opponents refer to the "murder" of
elephants, while cull-supporters warn of a "holocaust" among other species
if elephants go unchecked.

South Africa's Sunday Independent has played host to the argument on its
opinion and letters pages.

"Letters from our readers have been overwhelmingly against culling. The
idea appals them," says the paper's deputy editor Andrew Walker.

The outcry now may be nothing compared to the response if and when TV
images show rangers in helicopters herding elephants into small groups,
downing them with tranquiliser and then finishing them off with a
high-calibre shot to the head.

Rapid growth

The irony is that the explosion in animal numbers is due to the success of
conservation projects, and measures to counter poaching and

In Kruger National Park, some 13,000 elephants now roam - nearly double
the 7,000 that was considered the optimum number during South Africa's
apartheid years, when culling took place regularly.

It is recommended that application of lethal means, specifically culling,
be approved as part and parcel of a range of options
Elephant Management Report
SA National Parks
SANParks report (306K)
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download the reader here

The repopulation of elephants since culling was stopped in 1994 has been
so dramatic that it threatens other species, and the elephants' own

An animal with a large range, a long lifespan, a huge appetite and no
predators is trampling less robust creatures underfoot.

Elephants can turn woodland into grassland - killing off the majestic
baobab trees that can be thousands of years old, and depriving birds like
vultures, eagles and ground hornbills of places to nest.

They have also been blamed for driving rhinos off their ranges, and
threatening delicate botanical assets.

"They are converter animals - habitat engineers - they will modify their
habitat if allowed to do so," says Rob Little, director of conservation at
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa.

South Africa National Parks (Sanparks) has recommended a return to culling
to save the country's flora and fauna before it is too late.

"Culling should certainly be retained as an option," says WWF's Mr Little.

Elephants live long lives, making passive measures less effective

The government insists it has not yet made its mind up, and is considering
all options.

"This is spoken about at a very emotive level - this government prefers
not to decide what's best for its country on the basis of emotion," says
JP Louw, director of communications at South Africa's environment

Some groups, however, believe the deal is done and the 18-month
consultation will be more about persuading domestic and international
public opinion.


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) insists there is no
scientific proof that elephants threaten biodiversity and says there is no
way they should be culled until there is concrete proof of the damage they

"Sanparks is looking at elephants in a vacuum. They need to adopt a far
more holistic approach," Ifaw's South Africa director Jason Bell-Leask
told the BBC News website.

To say we should wait is to say 'wait until everything is destroyed'
JP Louw
SA environment ministry

He advocates allowing greater migration of elephant groups between parks
and countries in southern Africa.

Others point to successful projects to transport elephants to
less-populated areas, and to use contraceptives.

A two-year experiment with contraception in South Africa's Greater
Makalali game reserve used darts filled with a hormone that prevented any
female elephants from giving birth.

However, experts say a programme to immunise the 5,000 cow elephants in
the Kruger, and to track them all for further booster shots, would be
unfeasible both in terms of cost and logistics.

Moreover, because elephants live long lives, it would have no immediate
effect on their numbers, and the damage they wreak.

Zimbabwe would like to move herds to Namibia

"We're researching how contraception can be used as an effective method,"
says JP Louw.

"At present we don't know anyone able to tell us that contraception works.

"The option of translocation we continue to test. But this problem of
overpopulation is a problem across southern Africa, not just South Africa
- other countries have their own problems."

Botswana and Zambia have overpopulations of elephants and want to conduct
culls that would allow them to sell the ivory.

On Monday, Zimbabwe said 50 elephants had died "because of shortage of
water and pasture" in a western reserve, and that it wanted to cull or
move herds to Namibia.

As the debate rages on, officials insist that doing nothing is not an

"To say we should wait is to say 'wait until everything is destroyed',"
South Africa's Mr Louw says. "That is definitely not responsible


Comments from Kristal Parks an individual who has spent considerable time with this issue. Please read her comments below and visit her site at:

I think you may recall that I spent a month in S. Africa (last Spring) working
on elephant contraception (at a private reserve) which DOES work. But
Kruger officials refuse to use it on the elys in their park. I also
spent 11 hours a day for six days driving around Kruger park trying to
find all the elephants who are doing all the damage they claim. I found
a few bull elys but no female herds. It is all so much bull shit. The
S. Africans just want to kill elys for their meat, skin and ivory which
they are stock piling, just waiting for the moment when the ban on ivory
is overturned which they try to do at every CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting. Kruger Park is 6
million acres. They have 12,000 elys. That is 500 acres/ elephant. I
don't think they are having a problem with over population! Also, it is
known by those who have studied the behavior of elephants over a long
period of time, that elys will monitor their birth rate according to the
conditions of their environment (unlike humans, I might add). Such a
person is Cynthia Moss who has monitored the same herds of elys for
almost 40 years in Kenya (where I also visited for a month) and she
says: "Elephants will not eat themselves out of house and home".

You will be interested to know that Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton said this
to me: "Any species that over populates to the detriment of other
species needs to be curtailed. But I would no more advocate the culling
of elephants than I would humans because of who elephants are, sentient,
feeling animals..."

S. Africa is still in the stone age and although apartheid was overcome
for humans, oppression continues for its animals, especially elephants.
Canned hunting is legal and encouraged there.

I think the whole world should be in an uproar over their barbaric and
obscene intentions to slaughter this glorious and highly evolved animal.

For elephants,

Kristal Parks

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