Stop the Slaughter of 2,000 Hippos in Luangwa National Park
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In a shocking move, the Zambian Government have apparently overturned a 2016 decision to suspend a proposed hippo ‘cull’, and South African hunters have allegedly been given the go ahead to slaughter up to 2,000 hippos in the area. Currently on the ‘Red List’ of threatened species, and categorised as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
A South African professional trophy hunting company, Umlilo Safaris, has been awarded a hunting license allowing for up to 2,000 hippos to be killed over a 5 year period.
In a statement to Zambia’s Lusaka Times, Peter Sinkamba, President of the Zambian Green Party, said “Culling of wildlife is not an option. It is a primitive wildlife conservation strategy… What is more appalling is that the Luangwa Valley is not overpopulated as they claim. The hippo population in that conservation area has dwindled by about 14-20% in the last 20 years, motivated by mainly poor conservation policies, strategies and allocation of financial and human resources. The culling policy is motivated by pure greed.”
Richard Kock, professor of wildlife health at the Royal Veterinary College, speaking to speaking to UK’s The Independent newspaper, believes the Zambian government have yet to provide adequate data to justify the ‘cull’. “There’s no doubt that hippos can build up numbers until there really are probably too many for the ecosystem… and so I think anthrax may well be a factor in controlling their populations, and it may benefit the environment because they will consume large quantities of herbage, and obviously that will affect other species… I’m also very sensitive to the fact people use these things as excuses for nefarious behaviour… I would say you need good data and you need good evidence and it should be the scientific authorities who should back up any sort of criteria on culling.”
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