1) It is a misunderstanding that there are 'too many’ elephants in Africa:
There has been an increase of elephant numbers in only 3 countries (Namibia, Botswana, South Africa) over the last century. In all other African countries the numbers have been decreasing, as are the numbers of elephants in whole of Africa. Additionally, the situation in Namibia is relative: The populations in the north-west of Namibia are stable and self-regulating. Those in the north are growing (due to frontier crossing from Botswana).
2) The complaint about the damaged vegetation (due to high elephant numbers) in southern regions does not have a realistic basis, as the vegetation which the elephants have devastated did not exist during former times when elephants were more numerous in southern Africa. This vegetation just had a chance to develop after the years of extreme hunting (until early 20th century), during the absence of the elephants. Furthermore, forest is not the ideal landscape in every case. Vegetation systems and their cooperation with the various sorts of animals (with various sorts of eating behaviours) have to be much more differentiated. Additionally, or as one aspect of this, elephants do not only destroy landscape, they also create a new one and convey new vegetation and wildlife (distribution of seed in their dung, finding ground water sources and making them available for other species, etc.).
3) Countries with 'too many’ elephants use the terms 'overpopulation’ as an argument for their request for legal trade with ivory and for a commercial exploitation of elephants. So facts are surely verbally exaggerated in some cases.
(Note: Botswana follows, like Kenya, the ideal of a minimum of human interferance in nature parks and therefore does not fence their wildlife conservation areas and parks.)
(All this is not the case in Botswana, see above.)
Note: The southern african countries slowly move on to the scientifically elaborated and only reasonable solution for the 'elephant problem’ by creating corridors and transfrontier conservation areas (like KAZA and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park). This needs a lot of political effort and work with all envolved people, authorities as well as residents.
NEW DEVELOPMENT in South Africa: See article below
5/2012 - Birgit Hampl
Natural ruses rule out culling for elephants
See article in following link:
Since the release of the a.m. articles poaching has risen dramatically in Namibia as well as in South Africa's Kruger National Park.