Published: Friday 15 December 2000

  An elephant in the Kruger Na The South African National Parks Board has approved a revised management plan for the Kruger National Park ( knp ), near Johannesburg. The two main objectives of the plan are protecting the park's wildlife and maintaining the biodiversity. New policies aimed at making knp a model for wildlife management will be implemented during a span of three years.

The park is one of the largest game reserves in the world. It houses elephants, hippos, lions and at least 500 bird species, among other creatures. One of the major tasks to be undertaken by the park authorities is removal of artificial waterpoints installed in arid areas of the park. "The waterpoints have proved counterproductive. The Roan antelope has to compete in their refuge areas with zebras and lions attracted by elevated prey numbers," says David Mabunda, director of the park. An elephant management programme will also be introduced because at times elephants can dramatically change the ecosystem. The park will be divided into six zones -- two botanical reserves, two high-impact elephant zones, where there will be no check in elephant population, and two low impact zones where elephant numbers will be reduced to allow recovery of vegetation. The elephants will be culled if areas outside the park are not available for relocation.

The new plan is a result of numerous workshops, whose participants included local people as well as national and international wildlife experts.

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