Hot off the press - a wildlife book that makes you think
Shaping Kruger. The dynamics of managing wildlife in Africa’s premier game park by Mitch Reardon. Published by Randomstruik, August 2012. R220.
It would be so much easier to manage Kruger National Park like a large farm – but in the interest of conservation and biodiversity, other rules apply. In nature, it’s a delicate balance to ensure survival all around. Often decisions which are taken in good faith for the benefit of one species is to the detriment of another.
In Shaping Kruger, the author opens the reader’s eyes to the intricacies of the task at hand. The focus is on custodianship of the larger animals, as well as their environment. Kruger is one of the world’s leading stewards of iconic species such as the big five, but their wellbeing is closely intertwined with that of impala, zebras, wildebeest, cheetahs, giraffe, wild dogs and hyaenas.
How do these animals affect their environment? It is necessary to monitor the role and destiny of each individual species, be they grazers, browsers or predators, and adapt management procedures accordingly. Each species impacts on another, not only in terms of what they eat, but also with regard to their distribution.
With decades of pioneering research has come insight. How do fire, water and elephant impact on the ever-changing bushveld? For example, the old style of intensely managed ecosystems, with their extensive water provisioning, had disrupted the northern plain’s predator-prey relationships. Great for the lions, but bad news for roans, tsessebes, sables and eland, which began disappearing.
The new generation of scientists are determined to learn from past mistakes. The facts are presented in an accessible, non-scholarly narrative, which makes for stimulating reading.
By Romi Boom
Posted on: August 22, 2012, 12:27 PM
Posted on: September 6, 2012, 1:56 PM
Posted on: October 12, 2012, 3:43 PM