Wildlife charity calls on Zambia not to cull 1,250 hippos

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 15 February 2019

International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation has revealed the news that the 1,250 hippos living in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley face terror and death following the Zambian government’s decision to approve a controversial ‘cull’, which is due to begin in a few weeks’ time.

The roar of a hippo. Image credit: Morkel Erasmus

Hippo culling has been a sore topic in Zambia for years now, with continuous back-and-forth from international and local conservation, scientific and governmental bodies.

‘The justifications for this cull – which is being openly marketed to paying trophy hunters – are like a sea of shifting sand. Originally, it was to prevent an outbreak of anthrax. Then it was because the water levels in the Luangwa River were precariously low. Now it is because there is a perceived hippo overpopulation. Yet none of these ‘justifications’ stand up to scrutiny,’ stated the Born Free President and Co-Founder, Will Travers OBE.

According to the Born Free Foundation, opposition to the cull includes chiefs and people from the local community where the cull is due to take place. Local and international conservationists and safari operators also fear a tourism backlash against the pending mass killing.

Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, however, is now poised to push ahead with the cull, using paying trophy hunters to carry out the killings. The awarding of the culling contract is shrouded in secrecy and did not follow the open tendering process required in Zambia.

Image supplied

‘The Zambian government’s own research shows that previous culls have served only to increase the population growth rate, not reduce it. However, the killing of 1,250 hippos over five years could generate upwards of £2.6 million [(roughly R47 million)] for trophy hunting outfitters and the Zambian government. Hippo lives are on the line in order to line the pockets of a few hunting operators and government officials.’

Adapted from Born Free press release.

Featured image: Morkel Erasmus.

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