Litter In Wildlife National Parks

Litter In Wildlife National Parks

SUFV 6

Appalling behaviour from tourists in wildlife national parks has resulted in catastrophic consequences for some people and animals. People everywhere must begin to be accountable for their litter and the damage it causes, especially tourists visiting the parks.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCsThPzj-xk?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Utter Madness!

Kruger Park had to announce that rollerskating and skateboarding within it’s wildlife park is banned. Who in their right mind would want to skateboard past a lion or roller-skate past a resting cheetah?

Day visitors at Kruger National Park are no longer allowed to get drunk either. Neither are they allowed to bring alcohol into the park or buy it from the shops, although they can have a drink at a restaurant.

Would you really want to roller-skate past these lionesses?

Would you really want to roller-skate past these lionesses?

Ladies – Pick Up Your Toilet Tissues! On safari there is no easy access to toilets therefore you have to stop your vehicle and squat behind the car door. Women, PLEASE pick up your soiled tissue and carry it back to your camp. Do not leave tissues everywhere because it can cause serious injury or death to animals who ingest it.

Litter on the Masai Mara wildlife reserve.

Litter on the Masai Mara wildlife reserve.

Do not get between a hippo and the water, an elephant or any animal and it’s young and if they wish to cross in front of you then take a wide berth to give them room to do so; they have the right of way. Do not feed them either, they are wild animals, not zoo animals.

Angry hippo charging a human who should not be in the hippo's space.

Angry hippo charging a human who should not be in the hippo’s space.

Wildlife Game-Viewing Etiquette

If you drive up behind someone and cannot pass please don’t blow your car-horn and hang out your window shouting at them. True life example: cars were crossing the narrow Shingwedzi river bridge in Kruger, from both sides. A few cars would proceed from the north, stop take some pictures of the crocodiles then move on.

Crocodiles fighting on the edge of the KNP bridge.

Crocodiles fighting on the edge of the KNP bridge.

Then the cars from the south would proceed and so on – until a poor lady stopped to photograph the crocodiles and a taxi pulled up right behind her and the driver proceeded to honk his horn and yell at her to move on.

The taxi driver yelled at the Kruger park visitor while one of his passengers threw a beer bottle out the window into the river!

Angry tourist tossed his bottle in the KNP river, amongst wildlife.

Angry tourist tossed his bottle in the KNP river, amongst wildlife.

Cigarette butts are a constant problem in all national parks, not only because they are repulsive and can be ingested by animals, but also because of the obvious fire risk. If you smoke please dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly.

An impact of garbage is that some scavengers, such as hyenas, may change their natural feeding habits and became permanent garbage feeders. Most of the rubbish discarded by the tourists and local people is primarily concentrated at the road sites and much of it is very dangerous to the wildlife.

Baby cub with an empty plastic bottle. If the cub eats the plastic it will kill him.

Baby cheetah cub with an empty plastic bottle. If the cub eats the plastic it will kill him.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many rubbish bins are provided, people are happy to still toss litter anywhere. SANParks Honorary Rangers assist the section rangers in Kruger National Parks, by doing structured litter patrols. Rangers are supposed to be tracking poachers and bringing them to justice, while protecting endangered animals under imminent threat of death by poachers.

Instead, these highly trained Rangers and their Honorary Rangers are tracking “plastic bags” because too many tourists are too selfish to care about the safety of the animals they are busy photographing. Have respect for the animals and have respect and consideration for other visitors

Litter in the Kruger National Park.

Litter in the Kruger National Park.

Tourist Problems In Masai Mara

Chinese tourists are flocking to the Masai Mara to witness the wildebeest migration but sadly, they leave behind a trail of litter and furious fellow tourists who claim their viewing of the migration was ruined because of the Chinese tourists bad behaviour. Some young Chinese tour guides think being loud is important.

On Chinese sites, fellow Chinese tourists were seen shouting at a hippo and when the animal ignored their yells they began throwing litter toward him to get his attention for a good photograph.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j9bLIg84XM?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Working in Nairobi National Park Peter Kuluo Ba said some Chinese tourists throw things at birds and yell at them to move so they can get an action photograph. Despite being warned of hippo activity at night, many Chinese tourists still wander around by themselves at night, taking photos out of the range of hotel security cameras.

As well as taking close-up photos of Masai people without their permission, Chinese tourists are often frowned upon for chain-smoking and throwing cigarette butts everywhere, as well as spitting, including spitting in hotel lobbies (C.G.V.)

Not only Chinese tourists, but tourists from around the world find it increasingly acceptable to ignore game park safety rules, they blatantly lean our of their open car windows and many actually get out of their car and stroll around. Some ignorant people even walk into the bush to go to the toilet!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbEYNvNGiNs?rel=0&w=480&h=360]

Many tourists have become so relaxed they feel comfortable tossing food wrappers and plastic bags and bottles our of their window as they drive along. Empty water bottles and plastic bags strewn through animal habitats are potentially catastrophic if animals eat them.

A tourist man named Anjili’s relates his experience, watching the wilderbeast migration at Masai Mara: “Within 10 minutes a vehicle of Chinese tourists drove up, the tourists jumped out of the car to take closer photos and scared the animals who stopped crossing.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd0ucPc1ViQ?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

The litter is devastating! Look closely at the litter – it all has Chinese branding on it. After speaking to several guides and rangers, I have now come to realise that to save costs, some Chinese operators are using Matatu (city transport vehicles) drivers to take their clients to the Mara.”

Tourist John Hunt wrote: “It’s not all Asian tourists. At one of the main migration crossing points on the Mara River there is a favourite lunch spot for bus travellers and jeeps that has a tissue behind every bush. Thousands of them. Thanks ladies. Truly disgusting. How hard can it be to give all passengers a paper bag?

Elephant charging a car in Kruger National Park.

Elephant charging a car in Kruger National Park.

Also we witnessed on the Mara, several outrageous displays by drivers concerning the disregard of the welfare of animals. Like 10 jeeps in a line on the savannah chasing a leopard chasing a gazelle, – at 50mph. Then fighting like dodgem cars for a position around the terrified beast trying to eat its meal. Seriously, how long do you think these animals will be able to tolerate such stress?”asks Hunt.

Tourists and Some Wildebeest, 2014

James Cusick says “It looked like a spectators’ car park at a busy Nevada rodeo, where the best way to get up close to the animals is simply to stand on the roof of your SUV and whip out a camera lens the size of a drain pipe. And when the kids get too excited and venture too close to the crazy critters, why you just holler and pull them back.

Masai Mara tourists.

Masai Mara tourists.

I could see them all. A hundred or so people, surrounding a couple of dozen 4x4s. They were perched on the roofs of their vehicles; or standing outside them, trampling the grass; or edging towards the open dirt space where the action was taking place. This was the Mara River in south-west Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Masai Mara tourists.

Masai Mara tourists.

The daily spectacle is a reminder that survival of the many often comes with the bloody death of the few. In the Mara, crocodiles pick off wildebeest and turn the river red with blood at “crossing” times and they call it tourism. To read the Mara Triangle Rules, click here.

Two reasons to let animals have the right of way: the elephant was itchy and scratched himself on this car, which ended up with four blown tires and smashed windows.

Itchy elephant scratching himself on a tourist's car which would not move out of his way.

Itchy elephant scratching himself on a tourist’s car which would not move out of his way.

Several photos were taken of this itchy elephant, scratching himself against the car. Next time the tourist will allow an elephant to have the right of way.

Several photos were taken of this itchy elephant, scratching himself against the car. Next time the tourist will allow an elephant to have the right of way. The elephant was not injured during his scratching.

Saving Animals One Plastic Bag At A Time

Although not filmed in a national park, this beautiful video poignantly shows the effects of plastic and litter on birdlife and animals.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulkY7mOkdqs?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

In eastern Africa thousands of plastic bags are thrown away every day, killing grazing goats and cows which eat the bags and die. Discarded bags also collect stagnant water which is known to breed mosquitoes – and malaria. American born Lori Anderson discovered a perfect solution: replace plastic bags with durable canvas bags!

Flying to the Jane Goodall Institute in Africa twice a year, Anderson exchanges a free durable canvas bag (which can be reused many times), in exchange for 25 plastic bags. “These women are ridding their entire community of plastic bags,” says Robinson. “The simplicity of this project is what makes it so effective.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj5F2TD8nsA?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Christmas Holiday Bad Behaviour At KNP Camp

A few Christmases ago, the “day-visitor” area of Kruger National Park was filled to capacity with “day-visitors” celebrating Christmas at the Shingwedzi Camp. People became drunk and were staggering around while some people took off all their clothes and were swimming completely naked in the resident-guest’s pool.

Worst of all, because so many “visitors” were drunk, they forgot the time and a lot of people arrived at the gates late, after driving well above the 50km speed limit to the closing gates, hitting, maiming and killing many of the parks wildlife!

Hippo killed after being struck by a speeding driver, inside his own habitat.

Hippo killed after being struck by a speeding driver, inside his own habitat.

When all the “visitors” had gone the Kruger National Park Shingwedzi Camp was trashed. Soiled nappies, empty food containers, leftovers, empty cans and bottles and lots of plastic bags were strewn everywhere. Even areas of grass were still smouldering where “visitors” had illegally lit fires

Conclusion

To see how you can help combat the war against plastic bags and the damage plastic does to wild animals and birdlife, please visit Lori Anderson’s site: click here.

Author:I have spent time in Africa on numerous occasions and its wildlife reserves are truly breathtaking. If you have the opportunity to visit a national wildlife reserve, breathe in the experience of standing where wild animals roam at will, without bars. It is an inheritance to all of us sharing the planet, which we all need to respect and protect.

Thank you for reading,

Michele Brown.

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