It’s a 1000 km walk through the African bush around Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve to raise awareness and funds to fight rhino poaching. Click here to visit their website and follow their day by day experiences. Click here for, “What is TREK“. Click here to go to their Facebook page. Today is day 23 of their journey. They completed 100 km. on May 22.
This blog is nominally about wildlife and travel in southern Africa. Well now I’m stuck as I have seen a post from another blogger that is fascinating but I don’t know where to put it. It is about South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma. It shows just how different things can be if you know the inside story. If you are traveling to South Africa and enjoy the social/cultural experience, this is good stuff to know. Here’s my rationalization for posting the link on the front page of this blog:
Jacob Zuma has had a wild life! It is likely to continue.
I haven’t posted about elephants since March 6. Today’s news story about an elephant trampling a poacher to death in Zimbabwe caught my attention. Within the article are some worthwhile facts; The Elephant Advocacy League estimates that about 40,000 elephants are killed annually. On May 6, 26 elephants were killed in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic. This is a world heritage site. In Cameroon 40 endangered forest elephants were killed in 2 national parks as reported Mar. 27. In Kenya, 24 have been killed in the Tsavo conservation area consisting of 2 national parks. In Tanzania, there are allegations of 70 carcasses in Selous, the world’s largest game reserve and allegations of government worker involvement or complicity. It appears that the national park / game reserve protection model is failing miserably.
No, that last statement is incorrect. The park/reserve system is doing the job of separating day to day wildlife-human interaction. Wildlife wandering in villages or trampling through farms or agricultural crops is a poor mix. And in my first paragraph I ignored parks that are too successful at protecting elephants. Think of Kruger National Park and of Chobe where there are now so many elephants that park integrity is threatened by the damage elephants do to vegetation. I have read that in parts of Zimbabwe, elephants die as their food supply is now too distant from watering holes. So the problem is not the parks and reserves, the problem is with adequate enforcement of protective measures, and yes the problem is that sometimes wildlife management of expanding populations may also be required. For additional thoughts, views and information about poaching, I refer you to 2 blog posts by Rory Young, “What would effectively stop elephant poaching in Africa?“, and “How do you deal with animal poachers?” [WARNING - graphic images not for children].
Ok, this is just strange enough that it gets front page blog status. Check on these links where river guide Paul Templer describes being swallowed by a hippo in the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls in 1996.
For some people, the Cape is the place to go to experience cage diving with great white sharks. So we saw it listed as one of the new “big 5″ experiences in Donald Trump’s recent Celebrity Apprentice show. However, swimming without the benefit of a steel cage can be dangerous. The number of shark attacks is relatively small, not anything like the risks of driving or of being in a tough part of town. But there is something visceral in seeing or hearing of a shark attack. Consequently, environmentally friendly shark exclusion barrier nets are being tested. However, they are being removed from the water each night and redeployed the next morning. This is labour intensive, therefore costly. Here’s my question. If you are putting the shark net out in the morning, how do you know if you are keeping the sharks out, or keeping one or two of them inside?
The Kratt brothers featured South Africa’s False Bay in the television series Be the Creature, season 1 episode 11 “Great White Shark” including some terrific underwater towed video.
The Washington Post has published an excellent article on the different measures and equipment being used to combat rhino poaching in South Africa, but also noting that poachers are also learning and that the number of rhinos poached has increased again this year. Click here to read the article. Smart phones, drones, predictive mathematical modelling, negative advertising, dyes and nausea inducing chemicals is all in part of it. Even legalization of trade is an alternative under consideration. Even so, as cvheerden has pointed out, this week’s news reported the “Last rhinos in Mozambique killed by poachers” including Mozambique game rangers in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which is the park shared with South Africa and Zimbabwe. Kruger Park is South Africa’s portion of the Transfrontier Park. Further information about Mozambique and Limpopo Park poaching is available here.
Today I came across an excellent collection of travel tips for South Africa in and around the Cape. These are tips that England’s Telegraph news has collected from their readers. I recommend them to you if you are planning your next visit to South Africa. Click here.