By Charles Santiapillai, S. Wijeyamohan [Admin note: This refers to this previous article.\
According to the article entitled, "Indian Elephant Expert Critical of Conservation Methods" by Malaka Rodrigo that was published in the Sunday Times (20 October 2013), based on a recent public lecture – "A Way Forward with Elephants" – delivered at a forum organized by the Federation of Environmental Organizations of Sri Lanka (FEOSL), the Indian elephant expert and co-chair of the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group, Mr. Ajay Desai had recommended, inter alia, the culling of elephants in ‘troubled’ spots as a means of resolving the human-elephant conflict in the island. Furthermore, Mr. Desai added that "this method was cost effective and would even have conservation gains such as using funds to conserve other viable elephant populations. It would also bring a quick end to these elephants instead of a slow lingering death which is what actually awaits them or a life time in captivity and death in the end".
A central concept of population ecology is that of ‘carrying capacity’ which refers to the fact that there is a limit to the number of animals of any species that a given habitat can support. The precise number depends on what the species eats, and how much habitat space is available. In Africa, when elephants exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat, they are known to push down trees on a large scale and convert woodland into grassland. An adult bull elephant can eat up to 150kg of vegetation a day. When elephants over run their food supplies, some wildlife biologists feel that the only solution is to reduce their numbers to an acceptable level by culling (i.e. shooting) the surplus. Others believe that non-interference is the best response to the elephant problem.
Shooting just one or two elephants does not constitute a cull. It usually refers to the elimination of entire family groups containing the matriarch, other females, young bulls, juveniles and calves. It is a grim business and once the shooting begins it cannot be stopped until all the animals are killed. Injured animals can be dangerous and their distress calls can cause even more stress to the remaining ones. Elephants are animals with complex social relations, and killing them may cause a great deal of suffering to those who survive. In one of the culling operations carried out in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, older animals were shot leaving behind younger ones to form a new "herd". More....