By Mitch Reardon
(Random Struik, R220)
Reardon’s book must be considered as a significant “scientific” work rather than just another nature book.
The most up to date information available makes this book indispensable for anyone involved in wild animal husbandry.
Our forefathers came to this country to seek their fortunes and raise their families. To this end farming was and still is the most important activity which required vast tracts of land. Hunting rid the land of herbivores and carnivores.
Were it not for the tsetse fly and the mosquito, the Kruger Park would not have existed.
Examining historical studies on the large mammals of Kruger, it is evident how little we understood the ecological factors affecting the dynamics of the wild. The effects of indiscriminate hunting and culling have affected the ecosystem so profoundly that some species will never recover.
The erection of fences and artificial boreholes had tipped the ecosystem completely out of kilter, favouring certain species and comprising others. Happily scientists have taken note of these mistakes and are seeking solutions.
Recent studies have brought to light information on why various species thrive or decline in specific circumstances. Research on most large mammals has changed old mind-sets and we now understand the influencing factors with clarity.
Reardon has compressed a huge amount of research into this book to produce this remarkable document.
This book will stand land and farm owners in good stead and be an invaluable research aid to students. For game farm and nature park personnel,it is essential reading. – Ed Lemke