Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 2 - Page 17

will be given to surrounding communities as part of harmonising relations between the communities and the park. Neighbouring communities often complain that some animals force their way out of the park and feed on their crops and livestock such as goat and cattle. “We are grateful for the little rain that we have but I think it is too little to late. We have seen the devastation that the drought has caused to vegetation but as our scientist have told us this is good for the ecosystem of the Kruger Park. So we are still going to see some mortality to animals that are much weaker and that are sickly, but those who are still strong and are able to move to food reserves and back to the water sources that are going to survive,” says Phaahla. Culling is one of the best options the park is considering to save hippos from drought. The meat If the drought is not broken, and the grazing land inside the park continues to be reduced, more animals may escape from the park and feed on community crops. Desmond Andrews says giving the hippo meat to the surrounding communities will also be a way of preventing them from poaching animals inside the Kruger Park. “The big impact that we are seeing now during this current drought at this point in time is with our hippo population, because the hippo population is larger than it has ever been in the park’s history, about 8000 animals at the moment,” says Andrew. 2016 MAY 17