In 1995, the South African National Parks Board announced a policy of scientifically culling its elephant herds to keep numbers down and prevent damage to the environment. The breeding herds would mainly be culled in those areas where the greatest damage had been done to trees. Park officials said thousands of baobab trees had died in the Kruger Park since 1985 as a result of drought and elephant damage.
The problem of elephant culling is far more complex. It involves the rights and wrongs of a whole host of animals. It's not just a question of elephants bashing down trees. It's a question of the role of the elephant in a very complex eco-system. In areas where elephants have broken down trees and opened up land, bush pigs have become extinct. An endemic chameleon and an endemic lizard are in bad shape... is the elephant more important than a lizard or a chameleon?
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.