On Thursday 14th November 2019 (at the AGM ), John Llewellyn gave a interesting talk on the ongoing problem with elephants in camp - highlighting the various issues and looking for permanent solutions as well as input from members.
For those members that were not present here is a link to a .pdf of the PowerPoint Presentation. Please note - it is quite a large file (15Mb), and takes a while to fully load. If you start scrolling before it's loaded, some of the backgrounds may be left out.
Here is Chris Maye's report for October from the Reserve Report with additional information:
“The month of October held very little change from where we ended in September, whereby elephant impact and damage set the tone for the entire month, This topic of the seemingly endless impact on mature trees and our infrastructure has been discussed on a daily basis, however, as the destruction continues it remains relevant.
Our efforts over the past year with strengthening the Camp perimeter fence, our work on the earthing of the fence, as well as increasing the voltage has not achieved the desired result with the older more mature bulls. The younger bulls are showing the fence more respect and in most cases are deterred from entering, unfortunately the social structure of these animals is such that the younger bulls are “learning” from the mature bulls on how to breach the fence, thereby creating a new generation of nightly visitors.
We have identified nine different animals that are entering the camp area at various times. In the earlier parts of the month it was three bulls in particular that were responsible for the bulk of the damage.
On the 24th October after numerous requests, we managed to acquire the services of a helicopter to push these animals away from the Camp area. This operation lasted two hours and the animals were left on the KNP boundary, in the far north eastern corner of the Umbabat, roughly 8km from Ingwelala. These bulls have not yet returned.
We had two elephant-free nights before the fence was again breached, in the morning we located five bulls in the area of the Sekgobela River inside the Camp, four were removed by tractor fairly quickly, the fifth bull stubbornly refused to leave the Camp area. This led me to believe he had followed the others into the camp area and had not broken through himself, he left that evening on his own after more fence breakages.
Members reading this report will no doubt be considering or questioning the solution to this ongoing and regular problem, quite simply we have no immediate answers. We continue to put pressure on and drive these animals from the Camp area with the use of tractors, this is all very temporary and not ideal with human safety in mind. Once the animals have left the camp area the repairs to the fencing commences.
Should we be considering a permanent fixed barrier fence type, such as KNP? What would the associated costs be? This would also be an “exclusion” barrier whereby most fauna will not be able to enter the Camp area.
Should the fences be removed in their entirety? This creates both legal and environmental challenges. These are important considerations, for further discussion and robust debate.”