A severe lack of water can have a devastating effect on the ecosystem and agriculture of a region and cause great harm to the local economy. Drought is something that affects large parts of Africa on a regular (and increasing) basis, but Ian Mey, Field Guide at Singita Sabi Sand, explains that this environmental phenomenon can have an upside:
Drought is so often perceived as a negative thing, especially when in an environment like most of Africa where water is already such a scarce commodity. With the prevailing weather patterns pointing to the start of another dry spell for the area around Kruger National Park, it has opened up a fascinating topic of debate amongst many guests and staff members alike.
Whether you pay attention to the global warming issue and how our emissions worldwide might be contributing to drier, warmer conditions, or not, we can all agree that there will always be times of plenty and times of hardship. It’s nature’s way of giving and taking, providing spells of good rains and good growth to help animals of all varieties build up and strengthen their populations and then conversely times of drought where only the strongest of bloodlines are allowed to survive.
This period of hardship is particularly important for the environment as a time of “cleansing,” where the bush can help itself to get rid of weaker genes. Diminishing food sources, scarcity of water and proliferation of disease all take their toll on the biotic elements in the area. Some recent guests asked me: “Are stronger genes really that important?”. It’s a question to which I can unequivocally answer; “Yes!” Stronger genes mean healthier animals that are more resistant to drought and disease, animals that can give their offspring the greatest chance of survival not only from the elements but from predation as well. This thinning out of populations also helps the land to recover, by lessening the load on grazers and browsers.
It is always important to remember that the struggles of life in the wild places of the earth are not always easy to watch but it is a system that has functioned for millions of years, more perfectly then anything man could come up with. Life will invariably find a way.
Singita Sabi Sand employs a dedicated team focused on protecting and conserving the bio-diversity of the incredible land under its care. The team is tasked with ensuring that the land, complete with its diverse flora and fauna, remains, as closely as possible, in the untouched state in which the Bailes family found it some 85 years ago. You can visit the Conservation section of our website to learn more.