Sunday, 18 August 2013

Raining vultures

I found this a very interesting hypothesis at the time:

At one stage up to 700 elephants were culled annually in the Kruger National Park. Culling is still a hotly debated topic, and I will be putting my foot in it (right up to the knee as it were) in some future posting.

The animals were gutted in the bush and the carcasses transported to the abattoir in Skukuza for processing. Nothing was wasted, except for the mountains of intestines left behind in the veld. These were polished off in no time by a variety of grateful scavengers and carnivores. The vultures even started following the helicopter.

Then there was a sudden decline in the vulture population.  Due to the fact that the vultures were now feeding exclusively on intestines instead of the leftovers of whole carcasses, they did not ingest sufficient calcium. The shells of their eggs became soft, and their bone structure became so fragile that they would break a wing in mid-flight and plummet to death.

Such are the unforeseen consequences of fiddling with Mother Nature’s scales, eh?

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