Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 June 2019
The general impression left on my mind was that, with civilization closing in on all sides, ultimately something must be done to segregate the game areas from those used for farming; otherwise sooner or later some excuse for liquidation of the wild animals will be found … North of the Letaba River the country West of the Park consists mainly of native locations and areas. Here the Park itself might be fenced off.
Of course, a suitable fence over 200 miles long would be a most expensive undertaking, and its upkeep considerable. It would have to traverse all kinds of country, including stony hill ranges, and dense bush, but to my mind one of the chief difficulties would lie in the wide sand rivers running from west to east, and subject to annual heavy floods, which would carry away any kind of fence, and on their subsidence leave the way open for animals to pass freely up and down the river bed.
J Stevenson-Hamilton, 23 January 1946, Annual Report of Warden, Kruger National Park – 1945 (National Parks Board of Trustees, 1946, pp. 11–12)
THE CONTAINMENT of elephants is an important aspect of their management when and where control of their movements is required. Physical barriers such as fences are passive control measures (Cumming & Jones, 2005) and are often seen as the most effective approach to containing elephants. Fences are not the only way to influence the distribution of elephants, however. Several other options are discussed in this chapter, including deterrents, water manipulation and behavioural manipulation. There are several reasons for the containment of wildlife, and particularly elephants. One is animal disease control (Freitag-Ronaldson & Foxcroft, 2003) – to protect livestock from wildlifeassociated diseases, and also to protect wildlife from diseases of domestic species. Containment is a second important reason for fencing – to protect neighbouring communities and infrastructure from damage (especially by elephants and predators). Furthermore, by fencing a property, ownership of the species present is established and animals are somewhat protected from illegal hunting (see detailed discussion of this issue in Chapter 11).
PURPOSE OF FENCING
The containment of wildlife
Many small wildlife areas in South Africa are distributed amongst farms and villages with people, domestic stock and crops. This often leads to conflict between humans and elephants (Chapter 4).