Abstract:

A critique of the National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa, with emphasis on the determination of stocking densities to achieve particular goals.

Bruce R Page

School of Life Sciences, Westville Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X 54001, Durban 4000, South Africa

Following a period of extensive debate by the general public as well as professional ecologists, the National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa were published in 2008. In terms of these any agency that owns land on which elephants reside, or where introduction is planned, is required to produce a management plan. Over the past four years several government and private agencies have attempted to produce elephant management plans. For many different reasons, in all cases, production of plans has required extensive revision of several drafts. Based on personal experience and after extensive consultation, I present a critique of the requirements of the norms and standards and make suggestions for improvements. I pay particular attention to the requirement to provide a preferred stocking rate for the area in question, by reviewing what is known about the carrying capacity of landscapes for elephants, and what we know about the consequences of stocking landscapes of different types at different densities to achieve particular goals. I show that the concepts of carrying capacity and stocking rate are very poorly understood and are frequently misused. In many instances the stated goals underpinning stocking densities are unattainable. I conclude by suggesting that a revision and update of the elephant norms and standards is urgently required.

 

Presentation Topic

A critique of the National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa, with emphasis on the determination of stocking densities to achieve particular goals.

 

 

Contact Bruce Page:

Email Bruce Page