A report released this month states that the global illegal ivory trade is now 3 times larger than it was in 1998. It indicates the involvement of criminal networks operating with impunity to collect and transfer the ivory from east African nations, and that the main destination is China. This report contrasts with our experience in Hluhluwe, Kruger and Chobe Parks where protected elephants are now so numerous that they are destroying vegetation faster than it can rejuvenate, threatening the parks’ function and biodiversity. In Zimbabwe, elephant consumption and destruction of trees and shrubs in some locations has progressed to the point where elephants are starving – where water holes are now too distant from the food supplies. To be sure, once ivory supplies in east and central Africa decline, organized poaching networks will not just call it a day and go home – they will move south. For more information, here is the United Nations Environment Program news release. More on this – African forest elephants decline by 62% in 10 years reported by the Wildlife Conservation Society at the CITES conference in Bangkok. This is not attributed to habitat reduction. Instead, forestry has provided road networks which improve access for poachers.
Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 found the tour group flying to Durban on the Indian Ocean, then driving to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and then back into South Africa to Kruger National Park. Game drives were enjoyed at Hluhluwe and Kruger Parks. Kathy’s Smilebox slide and video show includes her front seat video of a spectacular elephant crossing in Kruger Park. A copy of the video was requested by the safari guide and has also been published on Youtube. Kathy shares her pictures and videos of drum and dance performances, crafts, food, scenery and many many animals.
Jim and Debbie, Richard and Kathy and Gene and Rachel toured South Africa, Swaziland, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe Park in Botswana with SmarTours in Oct/Nov 2012. Seeing African animals in the wild has always been one of Debbie’s dreams. Jim prefers cities, history, culture and food. So the trip was magnificent for both. South Africa, Swaziland, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe Park in Botswana are great places to tour, travel, visit. My wife and I, our friends and our tour group traveled safely, enjoyably throughout our trip. Our guide in South Africa was Ron McGregor. There was no bad news to recount and lots of most enjoyable adventures. I find southern African nations to be…. intriguing. View News SA and News Zim pages to see what’s been going on in these countries since Feb. 2013.