Lions in the smaller parks

May 7, 2017
On our recent stay in Karoo National Park we encountered small Lion prides, one with two cubs, another with four of almost nine months. We have to ask the questions, how many Lion can a park such as Karoo National Park carry, and when carrying capacity is reached what will be done with the surplus? 
One certainly needs to introduce new genetic stock from time to time in these 'closed' parks but demand for Lions for introduction or reintroduction is limited. Perhaps it is time that SANParks was open on its large carnivore management programmes in such parks as Karoo (Lion), Mountain Zebra (Lion and Cheetah), Addo (Lion, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Spotted Hyaena). 
We are regular visitors to the Karoo National Park and have noticed a definite downward trend in the numbers of Greater Kudu. Are they the principal target of the Lions here?


 

4x4 Rallies in National Parks?

May 7, 2017
On a recent stay at the isolated Afsaal Cottage in Karoo National Park our peace and quiet was spoiled by a 4x4 "rally". More than 30 Landrovers and Range Rovers in tight convoy roared past, creating clouds of dust. We feel that our national parks are no place for these 4x4 meetings! How tightly do SANParks scrutinize these events, or do the participants not declare their intention to have these gatherings? We would be interested to know what SANParks' policy is on this.



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The Scale of Things! Or: the Madness of Man (&Woman)

March 22, 2017
Consider this - the 2016/2017 budget for South African National Parks is roughly R 1.86 billion, for Cape Nature approximately R 304 million (2014/2015). We are well aware that not all of these budgets go into what we call “real conservation” but one has to measure this against the cost of a single F117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft - R 1.4 billion, or a South African produced Rooivalk attack helicopter at a mere R 500 million. We could go further but there is no point - governments and man ...
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SKA - Meerkat and conservation

January 14, 2017
There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the large tracts of land that have been bought up as part of the SKA-Meerkat astronomical observatory. It lies to the north of the Karoo town of Carnarvon, just 60 km from our home village!

In the general area we are 'threatened' by fracking for gas and open-cast mining for uranium but SKA does put a positive spin on things.

Most complaints against the large land holdings of SKA revolve around the loss of sheep farming country but many of the bough...
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Back to our pet hate - feral & domestic cats

January 14, 2017
On a recent visit to the Neusiedler See in eastern Austria, on the Hungarian border, we encountered feral cats - lots of them. This is a national park and one of the most important bird conservation areas in Austria/Hungary. 

No information is available on the impact these cats are having on the bird and other vertebrate, and invertebrate life. Going on information from England, Sweden and Germany the impact is probably considerable. So, why is nothing being done to control or eradicate this f...
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The Feral Horse Dilemma!

November 9, 2016
We recently read about the feeding of the feral horses in the vicinity of Aus in southern Namibia. Mathilde and I first encountered these horses in 2003 and we were impressed by how they had survived against all the odds from the early 20th century. But they are not part of the natural system of things and if they survive so be it but man should not intervene and feed them.

We both are horse people but where feral horses enter a natural ecosystem they should be removed or controlled. In Austra...

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CITES and Elephants

September 25, 2016
We are watching the CITES gathering in South Africa with interest (let us not consider the carbon footprint of the over 2,000 delegates from all over the world shall we!). 
Elephant poaching has escalated massively despite regulations and regular 'talk shops'. The move to put all Elephant populations on Appendix 1 - if it happens, will inevitably be a disaster for the pachyderms. The trade will continue but just be driven further underground. One just has to think of the rhino horn trade. 
If y...
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The value of game

September 25, 2016
The only reason game ranching survives and grows is because of good financial returns - and we feel that is how it should be. We don't like the trend of breeding and marketing morphs - 'golden wildebeest', etc and feel it should be outlawed!
Now along comes the Savanna Buffalo bull Inala, that sold recently for R 168 million. We admit the market is obviously there but at this sort of pricing something is not right in the world of game ranching. Profits yes, these prices are becoming an obsceni...
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The Kruger drought and cull!

September 25, 2016
Outrage over the announcement that SANParks in Kruger National Park is to cull 4,700 Savanna Buffalo and 750 Common Hippopotamus, because of the ongoing drought. Why?
Kruger is a fenced reserve, apart from some dropped sections of the international boundary with Mozambique; and as such despite exceeding 20,000 square kilometres it has to be managed. For decades there have been controlled burns, closure and opening of waterpoints, in the past culls of Elephant and Buffalo. The proposed cull wi...
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Uranium mining and fracking in the South African Karoo

August 12, 2016
We have noted the claims of 'victory' on the uranium mining front in the Karoo. This is not a victory, as it is the normal practice of mining companies to lay claim to vast tracts of land, followed by more intensive prospecting, that brings them closer to the 'mother lode'. The disruption, pollution and water extraction levels will still be there! How much of this depends on the 8 questionable nuclear power stations our government hopes to have built? An open question!

The same goes for fracki...
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