Shaping Kruger, by Mitch Reardon
A fascinating insight into the lives, habits and behaviour of the Park's larger mammals. ‘Shaping Kruger’ examines changing wildlife management practices and how they impact on the animals and the environment in Kruger National Park.
One crisp winter morning, I stood on the crest of Nkumbe Escarpment in southeast-central Kruger National Park, and gazed westward across weathered, straw-yellow grassy plains furrowed by a drainage line's winding green course. There was barely a sound or sight to remind me of the immediate century; it was like peering into the past. I could see for miles, but not far enough to spot the nearest building or road. Except for where I stood, the few traces of humans were poignantly fleeting. It was an image of old Africa distilled. Because of the grip wild country has on the imagination, we feel drawn to this rigorous landscape and its primordial paradox, its blend of claw and thorn and subtle beauty. You can almost envisage that era when Earthly patterns and relationships existed solely between the land, the weather and the animals, when nature worked with all its parts. But that impression of a missing human link could not be further from the truth. As the stories you are about to read make explicit, people and their works, good and ill, are very much at the forefront of the Kruger Park saga. There's another contradiction at play in these rugged, primeval expanses. With its potent allure, it's not surprising that to the untrained eye this mighty savanna appears ancient and enduring. However, appearances can be misleading. Savannas are Africa's newest environment. They arose around 25 million years ago when a dry phase swept across the entire continent, shrinking rainforests and ushering in an energy-rich, dynamic mix of woodlands, thickets and grassy plains. Nourished by seasonal rains and with year-round solar energy pumping through the food chain, this intensely physical landscape became a place of inordinate biological riches. Africa's savannas still support the largest herds of herbivores on the planet, side by side with a mix of herbivore-eating carnivores. This profusion, this density of life, contributes to a natural unruliness. Studies have shown that savannas are far from constant; instead they are forever changing, but these fluctuations are a part of ecosystem1 functioning. At one extreme there are long-term oscillations, for example in climate and fauna and flora. We see only small parts of these in our lifetime. There are also short-term changes - drought and deluge, fire, nutrient flow and the impact of browsing and grazing - which manifest themselves in fits and starts. Intact ecosystems are generally resilient, with a capacity to absorb stresses and disturbances. How these biological systems operated before the influence of post-industrial humans is near impossible to guess, but what we do know is that there is no original condition to which we can hope to return, just as attempting
to maintain the existing state is an ecological oxymoron; it's also unrealistic for a dynamic ecosystem such as the Kruger's. Change is inevitable; indeed, it is natural. […]
This is an excerpt from the book: Shaping Kruger: The Dynamics of Managing Wildlife in Africa's Premier Game Park, by Mitch Reardon.
Book title: Shaping Kruger
Subtitle: The Dynamics of Managing Wildlife in Africa's Premier Game Park
Author: Mitch Reardon
Type: Applied Geography
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2012
ISBN 9781431702459 / ISBN 978-1-4317-0245-9
Softcover, 17x23 cm, 176 pages, throughout colour photos
Reardon, Mitch im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Shaping Kruger provides fascinating insight into the lives, habits and behaviour of the larger animals that significantly affect the workings of the park.
This is a easy-to-use guidebook to mammals of Kruger National Park and surrounding Bushveld including information on skulls, spoors and droppings.
Expert Veronica Roodt introduces grasses of the Kruger National Park and the surrounding Bushveld.
A Cape Camera presents the architectural environment at the Cape as it existed in the early decades of the century and was recorded by Arthur Elliott (1870-1938).