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Exploring Africa Since 1688

Monday, June 23, 2008

An Elephant's waterhole trick, Kruger National Park

In the 1960s, in an effort to boost game numbers, the Water for Wildlife project was started and erected about 300 windmills in Kruger National Park. The waterholes attracted game into the area. At first this seemed a good thing; only decades later did the results show that with the impalas and zebras the waterholes attracted also brought more predators into the area. Before the waterholes, these dryer areas supported roan antelope, which are much easier for lions to catch — the roans weren't able to compete. The park has started to close the waterholes, and let nature take its course.

The windmills pump water into drinking troughs for animals. This amusing sequence of photographs taken last month shows an elephant using it's own preferred technique of drinking straight from the tank. The waterhole is at Tihonganyeni (near Mopani, Kruger National Park).

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