Elephants and Parking Lots
Farmers struggle to control small pests such as rats, hares and predatory jackals. How do you control a pest that weighs up to 6 tons? Elephants in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park have increased to over 300 in number, far exceeding the park’s carrying capacity. With no park fences, elephants are venturing further afield to forage, finding local farmer’s fields easy targets for a quick meal on the way. Human developments like roads, farms and settlements have interfered with the natural elephant pathways that are used to access food and water in the dry season. This has resulted in human-elephant conflict, with elephants raiding farms, walking across roads and parking lots, posing a direct threat to humans and their livelihoods. Local villagers have had to resort to firecrackers and guns to deter the elephants. Local conservationists are trying to develop less harmful, innovative deterrents. This human-elephant conflict is more complex when you consider things such as elephant-back safaris, elephant poaching and even elephant orphanages. With such a diverse set of values and interests, what is the way forward for the management of human-elephant conflict?
In out fast paced consumer society, new technological gadgets are being developed at an alarming rate to satisfy the eager consumer, desperate for the next best thing. We buy new cellphones every couple of months. New computers, tablets, mp3 players and other electronic equipment are even developed with built-in obsolescence, designed to be discarded and replaced after a set time. But what happens to all this discarded electronic waste? South Africa produces 100,000 tonnes of e-waste per year and only 12% of it is recycled. The rest is presumably dumped in landfills where the chemicals and heavy metals are left to contaminate the environment. We trace the fate of our electronic waste and try to uncover the reasons why it is not processed and recycled. Are we as consumers to be held liable for the pollution caused by this waste or is it up to the powers that be to provide the appropriate waste-management services?
Sekgweng: Monitor Lizards
Monitor Lizards are the biggest lizards in South Africa with a level of intelligence that rivals many others. Research at the San Diego Zoo has shown that some species can even “count” – distinguish numbers up to six. In South Africa, we have two species: the Nile or water monitor and the rock monitor. Johann encounters a water monitor displaying some very interesting behaviour in the Lowveld.
An unexpected greeting between white and black rhinos, unusual bedfellows enjoy a meal together and an aerial attack is launched by a fish eagle on a shoebill hatchling in Zambia!