A new policy for the management of the Kruger National Park's elephant population.
Koedoe 42 (1): 111-132. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v42i1.228
Arising from public debate held in Midrand on 4 May 1995, the South African National Parks undertook to review its policy for the management of elephant in the Kruger National Park. The new policy focuses on the extent and intensity of elephant impacts on biodiversity rather than on numbers of elephants per se, and is based on four fundamental principles: a) That ecosystems are not static; fluctuations of conditions and population responses are an inherent attribute of ecosystems and contribute to biodiversity. A range of elephant impacts in different areas at different times, is thus also natural and desirable; b) That elephants are important agents of habitat modification and thus contribute to biodiversity (intermediate disturbance hypothesis); c) That elephant populations which are confined will increase in number until negative impacts on the system's biodiversity will ultimately result; d) That elephants should not be viewed in isolation, but as one component of a broader, integrated system, and their impacts should be managed in conjunction with other ecosystem process (such as fire) to promote biodiversity in its broadest sense. The new policy proposes that the Kruger National Park be divided into six zones@two botanical reserves, two high-elephant-impact zones (no population reduction) and two low-elephant-impact zones (where numbers will be actively reduced). A history of the elephant population is given, and a resume of previous policies.