Featuring the March 2017 elephant hunt of Merelize van der Merwe & Thaka Safaris.
What happens during an elephant hunt?
Do you utilize the meat?
Why is it necessary to hunt elephants?
How does hunting help wildlife?
The day begins by taking in the beautiful scenery while scouting for elephants in Phalaborwa, South Africa; specifically for a known problem elephant estimated to be 30 years old and weighing 5-6 tons. As Thaka Safaris guided their client during this hunt, the team patiently waits for just the right moment for him to take a clean shot with a CZ .375.
After the shot...
“All hands on deck today in extreme heat conditions! I'll update the skinning process every few hours!!!” - Merelize
The cutting and skinning is a long process, as Merelize updates her Facebook following, "Five hours later, we are still working our asses off..."
"Still have 2.5 tons to go..."
The final update from the bush, "We are done!!! The meat (totaling around 1,000lbs) from the elephant will be donated to a white squatter camp in Pretoria; next week nearly 200 people will sleep with a full stomach. Nothing will be wasted or left behind!"
Through various social media platforms, Merelize van der Merwe & Thaka Safaris share their hunts and many outdoor adventures with their friends, fans, and past/future clients. Merelize describes every moment, from sun up to sun down. She also explains how South Africa's biodiversity is being destroyed by elephants...
“We have 20,000 elephants destroying the wildlife carrying capacity of the area. Remembering back 10 years ago when you drove alongside the river on the border of Botswana and Zimbabwe (close to Alldays) you use to see plenty of bushbucks; since the elephant population has gotten out of control in Botswana, the elephants are crossing the border to South Africa and destroying the natural resources. Now you will mostly find that the impalas and bushbucks had to move to new areas looking for the thickest area they need to survive, these lands are getting smaller because of the elephants breaking trees and grazing day and night. Kruger National Park constantly has elephants breaking out. Remember... for every elephant you need 10,000 hectares to sustain the animal for decades to come, so he won't have an impact on the biodiversity. Kruger's carrying capacity is only 6,000 elephants... what do you think will happen?"
⚪ DYK: Elephants spend 12-18 hours each day feeding and can eat up to 200-600lbs of food a day. They can also drink up to 50 gallons of water per day, which is the size of an average bathtub. ⚪
This is exactly what wildlife management (using hunting as a tool/aid in conservation efforts) is about, these are our responsibilities as conservationists... working to better these lands for wildlife so they can properly sustain a healthy population.
"The resources in any given habitat can support only a certain quantity of wildlife. As seasons change, food, water, or cover may be in short supply. Carrying capacity is the total number of all animals the habitat can support all year long. The carrying capacity of a certain tract of land can vary from year to year. It can be changed by nature or humans."
-Missouri department of Conservation
Not only does hunting aid in the funding of wildlife management... hunting also aids in anti-poaching efforts and boosts/benefits the local economy. The hunter purchases the required permits/licencing, they pay for travel, lodging and other tour packages are purchased, guides and licensed professional hunters are hired to assist, a team of local people are employed (as camp staff, skinners, drivers, and trackers), the meat is processed and donated to nearby communities, if the hunter chooses to bring home the non-edible parts then taxidermists will also receive payment (revenue) from this hunt along with the chosen company to ship these items home.
Hunting is a successful and proven solution to ensuring a species survival. “There’s only two places on the earth where wildlife at a large scale has actually increased in the 20th century, and those are North America and Southern Africa,” said Rosie Cooney, a zoologist who is the chairwoman of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group. “Both of those models of conservation were built around hunting.”
Thank you for following along,
Sarah Cox - Live Love Hunt