Photographer's Note

No, Pleeeeease!!!

In Botswana, the elephant population is estimated to be at around 130,000, up from a population of about 8,000 animals in 1960. It is the greatest concentration of elephants on earth.

With both human and elephant numbers growing every year, preventing a “conflict” between humans and elephants will be the key to preserve one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. Elephants destroy up to 40% of the annual crops grown by subsistence farmers in northern Botswana.

In Botswana people are encouraged to try simple things such as putting chilli pepper oil around crops to deter the elephants from entering the area. Farmers have used for many years fences of thorny plants to protect their crops but as the elephant population is growing also is their need to find food, making traditional fencing much less effective.
A more expensive, but often very effective answer is electric fencing. The problem is the cost of construction and ongoing maintenance which make it difficult for many smaller villages.

Because of the super fast growing rate of the elephant population, the government of Southern African countries have been implementing different approaches to control the number of elephants and bring them to a manageable account. For example, in the Kruger National Park, Republic of South Africa, to prevent damage to the park’s ecosystems, culling up to 7% of the population per year has been in place. However, such culls are always very controversial. Other alternatives to control the elephant population include sterilization of females about to become pregnant for the first time and contraception. According to some studies, to achieve zero population growth, about three quarters of the adult female elephants would need to be on contraceptives.

The main post shows part of a quite large herd of elephants when they were going, late afternoon, to the banks of the Chobe River. The big bull looking at us, stayed there for entire period of time that all the others took to cross the road. He did not threaten us but his behaviour, by the way he was moving back and forward his ears and his trunk, was a clear sign that we were not welcome near his family/group.

In WS1 is another much smaller herd we found crossing the road, early in the morning.

The elephant in WS2 was alone and drinking water at the bank of the Chobe River the morning we went for the river cruise.

Note: the bold parts in the text are just to highlight the relationship between the title of the photo and the different growth control approaches.

ISO: 100
Focal Lenght: 40mm

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Additional Photos by Antonio Ribeiro (ribeiroantonio) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4806 W: 470 N: 6473] (22730)
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