Hwange and its ele­phants

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Painted Wolves -

Gazetted in 1928, in an area de­void of per­ma­nent wa­ter, Hwange Na­tional Park can trace its suc­cess to the de­ci­sion to in­stall the bore­holes that would keep an­i­mals in place. But there are those who say that this de­ci­sion could turn out to be an en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter for Hwange. “There were fewer than 1,000 ele­phants in this area in the 1920s,” wrote Dick Pit­man in his 1980 book Wild Places of Zim­babwe. “To­day, it is prob­a­bly 13,000 or more.”

Al­most 40 years later, Hwange Na­tional Park now has an es­ti­mated 46,000 ele­phants. The habi­tat is al­ready vis­i­bly suf­fer­ing, and star­va­tion – not just for ele­phants but for other species too – could be just around the cor­ner. Culling is no longer con­sid­ered an op­tion in Zim­babwe. Yet, as one per­cep­tive re­search of­fi­cer pointed out to Pit­man in 1980: “It takes two hun­dred years to grow a for­est, but only 20 to grow an ele­phant.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.