It’s interesting that the elephant population in South Africa has now got so large they will have to start culling the population. The elephant appears to have become a victim of its own success with numbers growing from just 8,000 to nearly 20,000 in just over ten years since culling was banned. An elephant herd at the Kruger National Park now has 12,500 elephants which according to park officials is 5,000 elephants too many. A new conservation plan will include killing the excess animals as well as other methods such as contraception and translocation. Culling the animals will only be allowed once the other options have been ruled out.
Supporters of culling say that the growing numbers of elephants are reducing forests to flatland and threatening the biodiversity of national parks. Conservationists on the other hand say that the environmental impact is less severe than claimed and that culling is deeply inhumane. To be able cull its elephants a national park or private reserves will need the approval of the authorities and an elephant management specialist. They must also show that they have first explored all the other options. With the elephant population still growing at a rate of 6% if no solution is found there could be 34,000 elephants by 2020, a number that wildlife officials say is unsustainable.