The Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) has taken an official standpoint on the issue of elephant management, saying that “overpopulations of elephants (particularly in fenced-in protected areas) may pose significant threats to biodiversity” and that elephants pose management problems that cannot usually be solved by means appropriate to other species.
They say that all options for managing elephants are “limited” with “inherent logistical and ethical constraints”. Translocation is deemed to be the most ethically acceptable option, but opportunities are limited and the traumas suffered by elephant populations that undergo translocation are similar to those of culling.
Contraception was viewed as ethically acceptable, but has limitations socially, costwise and requires long time periods to actually decrease elephant numbers “which some management authorities cannot currently afford”.
Increasing the amount of land available for elephants and linking up current conservation areas was considered to be “clearly desirable” but could not “offer solutions for current overpopulation problems”. The GRAA pointed out that elephants and humans favour the same types of land, making prime land hard to acquire for elephant conservation.
The organisation also said that diversion of funds for new land would likely be detrimental to the management of existing protected areas. Humanely conducted culling and hunting “is considered by the GRAA to be an ethical and valid option for elephant management” when weighted up against biodiversity loss and human-elephant conflicts.
The option of doing nothing “laissez-faire” was considered to be in conflict with conservation of biodiversity. The association concluded by saying “The GRAA will support decisions taken in the interests of sound holistic ecosystem conservation.”