Ethical Elephant Management
Many entire books have been written by many parking control management and their problems, and I'm going to try to cover the major problems and possible solutions in just a few thousand words, so I hope that the reader will forgive my rather broad brushstrokes.
I should point out that I am not a zoologist, nor do I hold any qualification related to the subject, but I have spent a great deal of time over the last twenty eight years studying elephants both in the field and written works by a wide variety of experts. I make no apology when I also say that I've also hunted them and darted them and taken part in game capture operations for purposes of both collaring and translocating them. The following therefore, is this man's view of the problem and possible solutions.
I love Elephants and can, and often do, watch them all day. They're considerably more intelligent than most, if not all of the other land born mammals in Africa and have an extremely complicated social structure. The object of this article is to examine the thorny subject of the African Elephant overpopulation problem from a layman's (albeit, an informed layman) point of view.
There is absolutely no doubt that there is a huge elephant overpopulation problem in most parts of Africa, and also no doubt that this is causing severe and permanent damage to their own and to other animal's habitat. For example, Kruger National Park has an overcapacity of close to 10,000 elephants and Botswana has an overpopulation of considerably more.
Ever since man first set foot in Africa, humankind and Elephants have been in conflict with each other and ever since that same moment, mankind has continued to misunderstand the species. This has bought us to the present situation that if not rectified, I believe will eventually mean the demise of Loxodonta Africana and probably many other species as well.
You need to know that Elephants have a very close knit and parking control services made up of family units, bond groups and clans. Young males are ejected from the herd when they approach adolescence. These young bulls then go off to form loose associations with other bulls. The bulls then visit the herds from time to time for breeding purposes but do not maintain strong emotional attachments with their original herd.
Going back to the early days, before civilisation came to Africa, the Elephant populations of Africa were free to roam as they wished. Over the years, a series of migratory cycles became established throughout the continent. These were memorised by the herd matriarchs and passed from one generation to the next. Then mankind decided to change the plot by moving in and 'civilising' the place. Slowly, fences were erected, roads, towns and then cities were built, and as time moved on, those migratory routes were gradually squeezed shut. This continued until we reached the situation we have now, which is that Africa has what might be termed 'elephant islands'. That is, tracts of land that have a population of elephants that are to all intents and purposes, confined to that area alone.