Kruger Park research is in the care of South African National Parks Scientific Services team. It’s their job to make analytical assessments which feed into the national park conservation management policies.
The scientists also publish their research so it’s available for the public to see.
The park’s conservation management focuses on biodiversity – the study of species in their ecosystems and Kruger National Park has six different ones.
Some of the aspects of biodiversity cover:
To achieve their goals in biodiversity, the scientists:
- Assess any animal or plant overpopulation and invasion by foreign species
- Chart the rock types and soils
- Check the impact of people and construction on the environment
- Conduct animal and plant counts
- Do research
- Explore options for enlarging Kruger National Park
- Help with plans to regenerate damaged landscapes, such as from flood or fire
- Implement schemes to monitor endangered species
- Monitor shifts in the climate
- Run projects, like developing new ways of taking a species census, examining how much habitat a female elephant uses and how trees and grasses interact
To do their work well, the scientists need to make sure they keep their knowledge up-to-date and they regularly have discussions with their peers to keep their skills honed.
Some of the challenges the scientists face are the increasing effect of the human population in the area, such as farming and land development.
Independent researchers, such as academics, going to Kruger National Park need to supply the Scientific Services team and section rangers with information about which park gate they’ll enter by, along with the entry date and how many researchers there’ll be.
In addition, the researchers must hire a game guard (someone who’ll keep an eye out for animals while the research is being done).
All the scientists involved work behind the scenes to keep the park full of native wildlife for the million tourists who visit it each year!