Creatures of Change | Botswana Wildlife Guide

Elephant visiting a waterhole at Savite Safari LodgeElephant visiting a waterhole at Savite Safari Lodge
Botswana is a wildlife paradise and is home to some very interesting animals behaviour that has evolved through natural forces and through human intervention.

By Leigh Kemp

Most visitors to Africa have the large mammals on their preference list. To see a herd of elephants up close or watch a black-maned lion walking across the savannah is the ultimate thrill. Africa is a vibration on the senses.

Many view Africa's great diversity as a post card - animals dotting the African landscape - and do not look closely at the interaction going on. Some see the interaction and behaviour but do not experience the reason for this behaviour.

Understanding Animal Behaviour

Traditional understanding of animal behaviour has changed dramatically over the past decades due to the huge strides in technology. Information on animal genetics, communication and other behavoural aspects has been rewritten.

Researches and observers in the past would make notes taken from general observations but there was a great deal that could not be explained effectively. But now as technology develops so does the information on animal behaviour. A prime example of this is the fairly recent discovery that elephants communicate ultra-sonically.

This communication is inaudible to the human ear and it is only with technological advances that we have been able to discover the communication.

Human Impact on Animal Behaviour

The human impact on animal behaviour has also been so great that behaviour patterns have changed dramatically. With more luxury lodges been built all over Africa, and all competing for the market, the pressure is great on safari companies to provide 'improved' experiences.What most visitors to Africa want to see is the big game and lodges will have varying ways of attracting the game. Waterholes are set up in seasonally dry areas, where there were none before, so as to attract animals during the dry times and mineral 'licks' are put out at strategic points. This results in a change in the migration patterns and feeding behaviour of animals.As this is part of the new way forward for tourism and conservation it is important to take all non-traditional behaviour into account. Other forms of human impact that have had an effect on animal behaviour include trophy hunting, game farming and captive breeding.
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