South Africa to Resume Elephant Culling

“South Africa will lift a 13-year-old ban on using professional hunters to reduce burgeoning elephant populations, officials announced Monday, despite opposition from animal rights activists who call such killings barbaric and unnecessary. Conservation officials in several African countries have struggled for years to strike a balance between the beloved animals, which have helped fuel a lucrative tourism boom, and other forms of wildlife whose habitats they devastate. In addition, elephants roaming beyond game parks sometimes trample villagers' crops. Since the ban went into effect in 1995, the number of elephants in South Africa has grown from about 9,000 to more than 20,000. Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk did not say how many elephants could be killed, saying only that some animal-rights groups' estimates of 2,000 to 10,000 were ‘"hugely inflated.’ ‘Culling will only be allowed as a last option and under very strict conditions,’ van Schalkwyk told reporters. ‘Our simple reality is that elephant population density has risen so much in some southern African countries that there is concern about impacts on the landscape, the viability of other species and the livelihoods and safety of people living within elephant ranges.’”

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Source: AP/Washington Post