SEP 16, 2016 8:05 AM PDT

A South African National Park is Killing Local Animals in Response to Drought

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

South Africa’s largest national wildlife park is having to make a tough decision that would leave animal-lovers cringing amid a substantial drought, which is affecting the food and water sources of not only the people in the region, but also for the wildlife inhabiting it.
 
A report from The Guardian notes that Kruger park rangers are expected to slaughter at least 350 hippos and buffaloes in the drought-affected region to reduce the amount of animals that are expected to starve to death as a result of the lack of resources. This decision is being called a "humane" way to deal with the problem.
 

A hippo stands on a dry patch of land just at dawn.

 Image Credit: Chobe National Park/Wikipedia

Unfortunately for the animals, it doesn’t look like this drought will be coming to an end any time soon, so this might be the only way to prevent long-term suffering for the animals. This is a drought that may continue down the line for weeks or even months to come and has been dubbed the worst drought to hit the area in over three decades.
 
“We do not call it a cull. We call it an offtake. It’s a management tool and we want to understand what impact it will have. Our aim is to have sustainable usage [of resources] and populations,” said South African National Park spokesperson Isaac Phaahla. “We don’t want the animals dying of hunger and rotting on the ground. We are trying to be humane in the way the animals die.”

Unfortunately, these creatures devour so much vegetation in the area, that there's not a whole lot left, and because there hasn't really been much rain, most of that vegetation is expected to die anyways, leaving them with nothing to munch on.
 
The current population figures for these species are at around 8,000 for hippos and 47,000 for buffaloes, which is reportedly an all-time high for both species and aren’t sustainable with the current supply of limited life-essential resources, so it comes down more to population control than conservation in the eyes of the national park.
 
The meat from the deceased animals won’t be wasted however. It will probably be used to feed those in the communities that are suffering from poverty and can’t afford to feed themselves amongst this food and water shortage.
 
As you can imagine, the food shortages have led to price gouging, and is making it increasingly difficult to feed the people who can’t afford to buy food at the adjusted prices.
 
Source: The Guardian, USA Today

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 17, 2021
Microbiology
Novel Bacteria Discovered on Space Station
MAR 17, 2021
Novel Bacteria Discovered on Space Station
Scientists have known that wherever humans go, we carry microorganisms with us, and the International Space Station is n ...
MAY 07, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Scientists Just Find Mushrooms on Mars?
MAY 07, 2021
Did Scientists Just Find Mushrooms on Mars?
While experts agree that most life on Earth would not be able to survive on Mars, NASA researchers have previously sugge ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
JUN 04, 2021
Plants & Animals
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
JUN 04, 2021
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
How an elephant picks up a tortilla chip could inspire next-generation suction technology.
JUL 18, 2021
Neuroscience
How Slime Molds Think Without a Brain
JUL 18, 2021
How Slime Molds Think Without a Brain
A brainless slime mold known as Physarum polycephalum uses its body to sense mechanical cues in its environment. Then, i ...
JUL 21, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Researchers Detect DNA in Air Samples
JUL 21, 2021
Researchers Detect DNA in Air Samples
Scientists have shown that it's possible to assess what organisms might be living in a particular habitat by collecting ...
Loading Comments...