KAROO NEWS - South African National Parks (SANParks) has issued a culling tender to eradicate over 2 000 of their animals, of which 110 of the animals are in the Camdeboo National Park outside Graaff-Reinet.
Animals will also be culled in nearby parks, including Addo Elephant National Park near Kirkwood and Karoo National Park near Beaufort West.
A total of 2 620 animals will be culled, according to an advertisement for tender released by SANParks. Other parks include Tankwa National Park, Mokala National Park and Namawka National Park.
Dr Charlotte Nkuna, SANParks veterinary wildlife general manager, told Caxton's The Citizen that there are too many herbivores roaming smaller national parks, which is harmful to the ecological process.
"Habitat isolation and fragmentation, together with robust fencing and the provision of additional water, are key features of small national parks," said Nkuna. This, as well as the lack of predators, led to often sex-skewed and overpopulated areas.
In total, 590 ostriches will be eradicated, 200 gemsbok,1 400 warthog, 200 springbuck, 20 waterbuck, 100 kudu, 100 Plains Zebra and 10 fallow deer. In the Camdeboo National Park, 10 fallow deer need to be culled, as well as 100 ostriches. In Addo Elephant National Park, 1 000 warthog, 100 kudu and 100 Plains Zebra. In Karoo National Park, 60 ostriches will be culled. This will take place from August until March next year.
A Graaff-Reinet conservation expert, who wishes to remain unnamed, told the Advertiser that these steps are not unusual, and necessary to prevent overgrazing. "It is important, especially after this prolonged drought, to manage grazing areas well," he explained. "Certain grazing areas can only accommodate so many animals, and overpopulation will have a negative impact on the ecosystem." He added that erosion is also a negative result of overgrazing.
Nkuna told The Citizen that the carcasses of culled animals will be processed for human consumption. Furthermore, she stated that the culling of game species will assist with ecological restoration and "transformation of the thriving wildlife economy industry."
Readers with inquiries about the tenders can contact Charmaine Muzwayine of SANParks at Charmaine.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 012 426 5225.
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