Condé Nast - Elephants


Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:49 AM
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I feel like I'm in the wrong place here- the no kid/pets only zone.

4 kids (one husband, one ex)
2 college tuitions (twins)
2 afterschool care bills
2 dogs (lab & great dane) (read: lots of dog food)
Not enough FF miles to do anything with
No desire to travel anywhere except Africa
Don't cull me yet. I still must go to East Africa!
sundowner is online now  
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Sundowner - NEVER!!!
Kavey is offline  
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:16 AM
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Leely, sorry about your dog.

What was happening here while I was sleeping the sleep of the innocent? I hope everyone is still alive. :-"

The FF miles were a “polite”, but inadequate way of finding out who uses the most fossil fuels.

We’re not taking about a punishment, but a scientific and dispassionate way of culling the Fodorites that risk being most unsustainable in the future.

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:18 AM
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no rug rats
no dog (she died years ago)
no cats
no birds
the goldfish died
no mortgage (real cheap rent in NYC)
no car
a few seasonal flies (so stupid, they find a way to get in but can get out... until I swat them dead)
plenty of FF miles, that I never seem to be able to use

... no culling here, prefer to stick around for a bit longer!

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:19 AM
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No kids – and no plans to procreate.
1 cat that at least once has killed an individual of a protected species.

I’ve got FF miles from my last two trips Stockholm – Nairobi. For my first trip I didn’t think of becoming a member of Flying Blue (then Flying Dutchman). I don’t really understand how to use FF miles, but I’ve understood that I’m very far from being able to use them to get a flight to Nairobi.

I don’t even own a car and I’m not going anywhere at the moment, but my plans for the future definitely make me a candidate for culling.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:29 AM
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debt: umm, student loans
regrets: I've had a few
pets: ditto
kids: well, I do have a godson and a niece both of whom have been promised "trips to Africa with your auntie"--by their parents!
FF miles: nope, but I can say truthfully that I use way more fossil fuel than an elephant.

Please hold off on the culling of me for at least a few more years.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:01 AM
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Hehe...I meant I do not think I could do without the PETS!
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 08:43 AM
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To all of you
Thanks for keeping this post alive.
The main concern here is the killing or culling of Elephant.
What we all need to do is consider what really is happening and come up with a solution. I ask a question. Is Elephant population overtaking human population in Africa. What is the normal family in the west considered. A Husband, a wife and maybe 2 or 3 kids. In Africa their culture says up to as many wives and as many kids and many more grand kids. Oh My, lets just kill the Elephants as we need their land to feed our kids. So who do we really cull or control.
I welcome all suggestions.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Whilst i appreciate that the culling of elephants does not sit well with many on this board, unfortunately it does serve a purpose. I will not go into a great long debate but highlight some of the major issues invovled:

1) Sustainable conservation:

I believe that most who have been on safari have witnessed the devastating effect that elephants can have on the environment. There is the argument that their demolition of mopane and other woodlands creates wide open spaces for other species to survive. A valid point it may be, though IMHO, applicable only to africa of old. Animals are now restricted to national parks and reserves. Increased human conflict has reduced the presence of wild animals really occuring outside of these areas. Therefore, these national parks have a caring capacity that must be respected. The destruction of habitats by elephants has a negative impact on a number of other smaller species that are vital to ensuring the biodiversity and continuation of an ecosystem. 100 years ago, these elephants could have migrated, though fences and other obstacles now stand in their way. The cattle fences in Botswana are a perfect example. There is alot of discussion though of a peace park with namibia, angola, Zim and ZAm to get the old migratory routes reopened.

2 Economic significance of eles

It is an interesting debate to look at the benefits that the local community actually dervive from having wildlife on their doorstep. There are some community projects, notably Duba and vumbura, though they are few and far bewteen. Too little of the $$$$'s spent by tourists affords a reasonable standard of living. Many villages need farming lands to have a subsistence lifestyle. The problem that africa faces is that both animals and humans want the same commodity, water and fertile lands. We are talking of thrid world countries, not prosperous people in the west.

Related to the lack of development is the large family structures that still occur in Africa. A large family is like a nice state pension if you reach old age. The lack of basic machinery also requires a labour intensive approach to farming rather than capital intensive as seen across the developed world.

THe importance of farming can be seen in the year 2005. There was severe drought throughout southern Africa. In malawi for example, over 3 million people were starving. How would you feel if fertile land was taken from you to support the increasing the levels of elephants? Not to mention that your family is starving and you are one of the 40% of the population unemployed without government assistance?

Just a final point that you seemed to raise. Our cultures do clash dramatically with those of AFrica. Bigamy is the perfect example. Bigamy can only occur though if you can prove you are able to equally support to a reasonable standard of living the wifes you have. This is enforced normally by village elders! The african population of all forms of mamals was doing ok until the 'we know best' western world decided to colonise and control africa. WAs it not the european settles who decimated wildlife through trophy hunting in the name of sport?

Overall, it is all to easy to sit at home behind your computer screen and judge. A quick visit to Kruger and you are shocked that animals need to be killed because people want space to grow their food. Unfortunately they cannot pop down to Waitrose for some succulent steak and vegetables.

Culling can only be prevented if more space is provided. An elephant requires 2 hectares to prevent it from being destructive. Space can only be achieved if the economic gains from wildlife go into the pockets of those living next to reserves. I am not talking about wages, but hard tourist bucks from staying in their accommodation. This money then needs to be translated into sustainable farming process away from the these fertile areas that the animals habitate.

With AFrican governments the way they are, this is a distant dream. Villages do not have the capital to raise enough to finance lodges, and they dont have the skills in many instances, so it is a vicious circle. Private enterprise will persist,profiteering from the people of africa.

Wildlife is more of a pest on a continent that exists primarily from hand to mouth. Wildlife tourism does bring in the bucks, but at what stage does it not become economically viable, too many lodges. A balance needs to be found, hence culling. My birth has given me the opportunity to live, so shouldnt you possibly do the same for those of rural africa?

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:20 AM
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apologies for SPAG or repetition, too much wine for dinner
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:26 AM
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actually, I thought it was a remarkably lucid articulation of the myriad problems--very real problems--African countries face. thank you for that.

What's SPAG?
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
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James, thanks, I thought it was a very interesting article (especially since I had stayed at Savuti Camp and was familiar with the area). It was very interesting to read the wide spread between the numbers of elephants that different people think the area can hold.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 10:44 AM
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I’ve already suggested who should be culled. Start with the people that have exterminated the megafauna of their environment and that are endangering the whole planet with their excessive use of fossil fuels etc. If you’re living in Europe have a look outside your house to see if there are any mammoths.

On an even more serious note, family size has been reduced everywhere where people have reached a certain standard of living and where there is education for women. Start thinking about what you can do to make this happen everywhere in Africa as well. With this living standard that most reasonably nice people deserve, the possibility to go on exotic holidays to your country is included – so start investigating hydrogen gas as aviation fuel.

For the ele situation right now, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants/Amboseli Elephant Research have some ideas, but it’s probably not enough. I wish I had at least one good idea.

Ibj has written a significantly more lucid reply, but I’ll post this anyway.

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:19 AM
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You hit the nail on the head.
Education is key! The more educated one is, and not necessarily just by a book, but by a combination of common sense, on the job training, and many other means, the wiser one's decision can be when it comes to procreation and whether or not to do so.

And some of us are out there in these third world countries, trying to do whatever we can to help and to make a difference.

Unfortunately, corrupt governments do play a part in where tourist and other funds are allocated and as we all know, many dollars aren't put where they should be because of the powers-to-be that are in charge.

The reason humans need more farmland is because of the increasing number of humans on the earth. By 2050 the population will have risen to 9 billion people from the current 6 billion today. That's a HUGE jump in less than 50 years.

I will always feel culling another species, for whatever reason, is not the answer. We need to find the answer to what the underlying issue is, not take the easiest way out for the sake of only our species.

I can cite many examples of how humans need for farmland or fishing the oceans for food have all but wiped out critically endangered and/or threatened species.

There will never be any more space to work with than what is out there already, humans just have to learn to use it wisely and learn to co-exist with other species instead of getting rid of whatever is in their way. In the short term culling may work but in the long term, that will never be the answer.

Doesn't every species deserve a chance to live the way nature intended?

Education, Education, Education!

On a lighter FF miles were donated to me by my ex and I haven't found a use for them either so don't cull me just yet. I've got work to do in Rwanda. ;-)
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:22 AM
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I just received this in my mailbox at work, can't wait to read that article!
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:56 AM
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last night I pulled out my subscription copy of CNT and read it this morning in the dentist's office. A great article.

Then lo & behold I see how long this thread has gone. I am very dissapointed with the tone... how come were only culling Fodorites? I have a much longer list

Seriously, LBJ, thanks for your excellent summary of the issues. Emotionally I hate the thought of culling elephants. Segue... has anyone read a book called The White Bone? It is a story of a family of elephants trying to survive in the African Savannah and it is amazing. It is told from the elephants point of view.

Anyhow, one interesting point from the article is that the lands work in 200 year cycles, not the 20 year cycle mn is so worried about. So it is possible for a forest to overrun with elephants who "destroy" the habitat. Then natural culling will occuring as the land can't support as many elephants, then the population will grow again.

This is an argument for elaving it all alone.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:25 PM
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SPAG is a British marking term in schools. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. Though from the way results always seem to be improving and the youngs lack of basic language skills, i wonder its value!

Nyamera et al, you may claim not to have a good idea, but if all Fodorites got together a community scheme could make a difference. In an area like South luangwa, there are a number of GMA's that are mainly used for hunting and still have people resident. Like the Mpumandzi Corridor. Recent opinions in development economics support the use of natural resources to get economic improvement. I cannot remember the precise model, but it is based on a slow industrialisation as seen in Europe. These countries cannot realistically compete with Asian tiger economies.

Anyway, back to the point in hand. The fodorites development program is initiated, the EU, maybe old Mr Geldoff himself, gives us some funding.
The difficult bit will be to convince people to move from their ancestral homelands, though this can be overcome. We build a number of lodges in private concessions surrounding SLNP (just an example). You move the people into a new village/town where a good school is built and other ammenities. The only people allowed to be employed in these lodges are from that village. Though to begin with this may not be the case for managers and guides. Market the lodges through somebody like wilderness to ensure that business comes your way. Or have your own reality TV show aired, Fodorites helping Africa. IT certainly beats Big Brother.

All the money the profits from the lodge will help that community farm, pay for schooling and infrastructure. The top students would be sent away to the country's best schools and potentially university through the scheme. As the organisation expands, maybe and education levels rise, you take over your own marketing. You can become Safaris in the Wilderness for arguments sake. Then its take off..................until another 9/11. But hey, thats what EU subsidies are for.

Now, if only i could stop the bureaucratic AFrican governments from intervening..............and i will continue to dream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:05 PM
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That’s almost exactly what I would like to do – in Kenya, and there are schemes like that going on. A very big hurdle is that I don’t have any money, but if the EU and Mr. Geldoff could give me some funding… One question is why they would give it to me, or us Fodorites, and not to some very competent Kenyan with a lot more local knowledge. And I wouldn’t like to move any people to create an artificial wilderness when there are people that traditionally have coexisted - if not peacefully, at least in some kind of harmony with wildlife. An amazing wildlife area doesn’t have to be a “wilderness”. It’s possible as long as you’re not a farmer, but for example a pastoralist. People’s living standards would improve mixing pastoralism with the tourist industry and other industries that don’t damage the environment, not that tourism is always environmentally friendly- most of the time it’s not. I have no idea what the other industries would be, but you can’t rely on something as fickle as tourism.

How corrupt would it be to pay yourself some EU/Geldoff money to be able to live full time in Africa, Maybe that money could come from the Reality Show that instead of “Fodorites Helping Africa” would be called “Fodorites Searching for a Lifestyle with Constant Humming of the Theme from Out of Africa”. Another way might be to give some EU money to corrupt African politicians.

I never apologize for my SPAG.

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:26 PM
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What work will you do in Rwanda? Where did you find an ex that gives you FF miles?

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Feb 22nd, 2006, 04:30 PM
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Long story short, I'll be over in Rwanda doing some photography work for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Though I consider it more fun (and a passion) than work. I was supposed to go into the DRC (Congo) too but we had to put it on hold as it's a little too unstable there right now. <<Sigh>>

The (Delta) FF miles came as part of my settlement. But unfortunately, right when SAA & Delta decided to go their seperate ways. Hopefully I can use them to go to S. America. I'd like to do the Amazon thing someday (if I can wean myself off Africa long enough).

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