Updated: Jul 6, 2020
Many elephant have been dying in Zimbabwe - and by their hundreds since two months ago in Botswana - and it will become thousands very soon as the dry season is upon us. It is not by hunting, or poaching or a disease, it is due to a lack of food.
Greenies, including CITES have falsely been telling the world for the past 30 years that elephants are an endangered species. These people have been taking money from many uninformed individuals and businesses and organisations for whatever other hidden plans they had because elephant numbers in Southern Africa have never been under threat.
Fact is, since 30 years ago when hunting elephant and most anything else in Botswana was prohibited, the once pristine forests from "Hunters' Road" in the east to the lush swamps of the Okavango in the west have been turned into dust bowls. Long before this present crisis there have been no other wildlife in that stretch of land except for elephant and the odd kudu. Why? Because the over population of elephant had devastated the habitat for about 25 ungulates and their predators, hundreds of species of birds and maybe a thousand invertabrates.
Botswana's overpopulation of 130,000 elephant need to feed off a habitat which can only sustain maybe 80 - 90,000 when the habitat itself is 100% intact. The habitat has not been intact for 15-20 years.
Zimbabwe has about 20,000 elephant too many, and South Africa about 10,000. Elephant have never ever been endangered, there always have been more than could sustainably be carried by the habitat. Hunting and culling ensured the protection of the habitat and of nature in total. Then came the illogical bans on hunting and culling operations, and over the past 25 years elephant numbers have doubled. They are killing their own habitat, and indirectly themselves and maybe a thousand other species of creatures. Elephant need to be hunted and culled on a large scale, and soon, and the meat and other products utilised - including flooding the market with ivory so that the Chinese-organised ivory poaching will stop in East Africa . Only scientific culling will save the elephant and the habitat for many other species big and small.
Hunting and scientific culling needs to be conducted, like South Africa did for 30 years until 1995 when CITES and the liberal Greens cried many $ of crocodile tears into the back pockets of government officials to stop it. Elephant have no predators. Since the scientific culling in Kruger National Park started - and later was sustained with an average of 1,300 elephant a year - about 50,000 were shot and we learned a great deal about elephant dynamics. We also learned about rifle calibres and bullets that work - and a few that do not work. We learned how to kill elephant and Cape buffalo properly and "humanely" (to use a strange term coined by some unknown do-gooder).
Sad, but for the greater nature conservation principle it needed doing - and many rural families lived off that meat and not one kilogram was wasted, being processed in a modern plant. Culling was not hunting. It was hard, very dangerous work - a hard job for hard men, and even they regularly vomited out their breakfasts afterwards. Even non-smokers asked for a cigarette after 22 elephant had been surgically killed in the span of 90 seconds.
After the tenth elephant was down every single shot was in self-defense or to save the buddy-shooter. There are men here in South Africa who has each killed more than twice as many elephant as did Selous and Bell and Barnard and Manners counted together. Going back to the old .375 H&H and 9,3x62 after the new .458 Win Mags were very quickly discarded due to its lack of penetration ability and some dangerous moments for many game rangers. In the later years only a .308 Winchester cartridge and a 150 gr flat nose brass bullet at 2,600 ft/sec was used.
Now, because that was banned, thousands of elephant are dying because of hunger for having devestated their own habitat and that of many other species. All those tons and tons of meat is rotting and spreading diseases instead of being utilised as valuable protein.
We indeed learned a great deal about elephant dynamics in the sense that eventually complete family groups of about 20 animals were removed in one operation, not allowing a single survivor to run and spread the word and cause havoc amongst elephant, and causing human deaths, for 100 kms around. More about this later after we have had some comments by readers.
Since 1961 the South African main conservation principle had been to conserve NATURE at the macro level - meaning that the pristine habitat needs to be protected and not individual species. If wildlife management is focused on the complete habitat being protected then all species will exist in a long term simbiosis of self re-regenerating sustainability. The northern Botswana macro habitat has been neglected by the CITES bans enforcing elephant to over populate to the extent where that area can not even sustain its blue wildebeest, kudu, springbok and other antelope populations.
In the South African National Reservations which comprise almost 10 million acres, a balance between ungulates and predators automatically ensures a balanced co-existence. The available meat of different size animals determine the number and type and size of the predators, and nature stays happily in balance. This homeostasis existed until 1995 with very little human interference except for the 1,300 elephant that needed to be shot and processed every year because they do not have predators to control their numbers.
On the much bigger collective size of South Africa's more than a mere 10 million acres of private land dedicated to wildlife, leopard, brown hyena, caracal and jackal are the main predators, and these, combined with hunting, ensure that there exists no overgrazing of the habitat. The problem in Botswana and Zimbabwe and the SA National reservations is the numbers of elephant - because they have no other predator but man. That has always been the case and as long as elephant are allowed to exist outside of zoos that will need to be the case.
The utterly useless organisation calling themselves the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species" (CITES), and the USA government that bows to their pressure and false lobbying - and by executive order banned elephant and lion trophy imports, are at the root cause of the present elephant deaths and the up to now devastation of nature. What will typically follow is the distinct possibility of diseases in other wildlife coming from the thousands of rotting elephant carcasses that are going to litter the water supplies in Botswana and Zimbabwe in the months to come.
Look at the photos and read these media reports. Only, these reports will not have the guts to express the reasons for the deaths as is done at the end of this post.
These elephant are not really dying of hunger (yet) - that will come in the months ahead. They are in fact dying with stomachs full of the leaves of the mopane (pronounced: mohh-pah-knee) tree. Grass is the main food for elephant but in the dry season they also eat mopane leaves. With no grass left for grazing and the present massive over-browsing, the mopane trees have a built-in method for self preservation: They excrete large amounts of tannins into the leaves. The tannins inhibit digestion and it also makes the animal very thirsty, so the elephant hang around and die at water holes from hunger with a full stomach.
The photos in the media show dead elephant at water holes, polluting the area around it with rotting meat which carries all kinds of diseases.
Other animals that are dependent on the grass that had already been depleted by the elephant, and also partly dependent on the mopane leaves will now also die - maybe already have - or will migrate well beyond their known habitat in search for food. A massive ecological disaster is awaiting the once jewels of Southern Africa wildlife, namely Botswana and Zimbabwe, unless a locally designed culling / hunting programme is very soon entered into.