"Everything Comes With A Price" Might be an Understatement...
Kruger National Park is an extremely popular tourist attraction for people all over the world. Unfortunately, there are some human activities that are negatively impacting the park. Some of the most harmful human activities on Kruger National Park are poaching, development, and pollution.
Poaching should just be for Eggs
Poaching is the act of killing or capturing wildlife, violating wildlife conservation laws. People tend to poach for fun, money, or survival. In the past, poaching in Kruger National Park was mostly small scale and the animals were used for food and medicine. However, in more recent years, poaching levels have increased and it has become much more commercial. The extinction of even a single species can throw off an entire ecosystem in Kruger National Park. The park's management realizes this, and they are working to improve protection against poaching.
Construction is Causing Obstructions
Kruger National Park is a wildlife reserve, so there isn't any construction and development going on within the park's boundaries. But, that is not stopping construction companies from building right on the borders of the park. There is a high demand in the market for residences in "natural areas," and areas around Kruger National Park make a perfect place for that. Even though this is not impacting the park directly, it does negatively effect any future bioregional plans Kruger National Park may have. In other words, the park may not be able to expand its boundaries due to the development around its borders.
Global Warming is Real... and its Bad
Pollution that's happening all over the world is finding its way to negatively impact Kruger National Park, along with all other wildlife ecosystems. Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) gets released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned, and this can throw off the balance in the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is the process that redistributes carbon in the environment. Fossil fuels are typically locked out of the carbon cycle, so when they get burned into the atmosphere, it is adding a lot of excess carbon to the cycle. The extra CO2 that gets released into the air also affects natural sinks (e.g., forests) that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Because Kruger National Park is a savanna, there are not as many trees present to make a natural sink, but the excess CO2 undoubtably impacts the trees that do grow on the landscape. For better understanding, the phases of the carbon cycle are listed below.
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Steps in the Carbon Cycle
- Carbon enters the environment (usually as CO2) through respiration and combustion
- CO2 gets absorbed by photosynthetic producers that use the carbon to make sugars (carbohydrates) and release oxygen
- Consumers feed on the producers (transferring the carbon to the consumers)
- When plants and animals die, they are broken down by decomposers and the carbon in their bodies is released into the environment as CO2