First Some Facts (Source: IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group):
Area of whole country: 600,000 km2
Area with Elephants: 100,000 km2 (17%)
Protected Areas for whole country: 18%
Number of Elephants: 134,000
Area of whole country: 1,220,000 km2
Protected Areas for whole country: 30,000 km2 (2%)
Total Protected Areas: 4%
Number of Elephants: 18,000
So the question for South Africa is really not one of ‘To cull or not to cull’.
Rather the real question is ‘Why does South Africa have so little of its land available for Elephants ?’.
South Africa does not need to cull elephants. Instead it needs to find more land for them to live on.
The International target for protected areas is 10% and South Africa is way behind, even when including the numerous private game reserves.
The South African Government has already started a number of projects to create new or larger wildlife reserve in conjunction with private enterprise but there is still a lot more to be done.
For example: An Eastern Cape private game reserve employs around 10 times more people, and in more skilled, better paid jobs, than local sheep farms on the same sized plot of land.
So land for wildlife benefits local communities by increasing employment opportunities, the economy by bringing in tourists and their tourist dollars and, of course, wildlife.
Land for Wildlife. It’s a Win-Win situation !