Kruger National Park Elephants (Loxondonta africana)

How many elephants are there?

The Kruger National Park (Kruger) is currently (2006) home to approximately 13 000 elephants (of a total of about 16 000 elephants in South Africa).

Two African Elephants

Are there too many elephants?

In the 1990s the carrying capacity of the Kruger was estimated to be 7 500 elephants. The current (2006) number of 13 000 elephants exceed the carrying capacity by 5 500.

Why is the elephants population expanding?

As a result of the moratorium on culling and the success of the Kruger's efforts at combating poaching.

Why is there a limit on the carrying capacity?

Elephants cause a lot of damage. Trees are pushed over to die after their leaves are eaten, changing the biodiversity of the area and impacting on other animals - bushpigs, for example, need dense thickets to survive and dissapear when elephants open up the bush.

What are the options available?

Doing nothing

This will result in decreased biodiversity in the park.

Contraception

This is difficult, and there's no clear indication of what impact this will have on the social structure and behaviour of elephants.

Translocation

Very expensive

Expansion of the range

 

Fewer waterholes

This would lead to the death of some elephants and a reduction in their numbers.

Culling

Public are anti-culling.