Several animal welfare associations are riling up against a decision announced by Zambia. Why? For the slaughtering of no less than two thousand hippopotamuses deemed “too numerous” for the country.
But why does Zambia want to kill its hippos? The country provoked an outcry amongst animal welfare organisations across the world on Wednesday 13 February after announcing that they intend to kill off no less than two thousand hippopotamuses over the next five years.
Their objective? To reduce their numbers, which are considered excessive, in the east of the country.
This culling is set to begin in May, when hunting season officially opens in Zambia, according to the latest press releases from the Ministry of Tourism.
“Currently, the population of hippos in the South Luangwa National Park is 13,000, while Luangwa can accommodate only 5,000 hippos. This poses a danger to the ecosystem,” said an anonymous member of the ministry.
Defend the living
This is not the first time that Zambia has announced its intention to hunt hippos but the country has systematically backtracked, under the pressure from animal welfare organisations.
And they seem intent on repeating it again this year. The NGO "Born Free" who denounced this the last time said:
"The first thing was to prevent an anthrax epidemic. Then the water level in the Luangwa River was too low. Now it's because of an alleged overcrowding. None of these justifications holds water,” said Born Free president Will Travers.
According to the members of the association, this project supported by the Zambian authorities is mainly motivated by financial means, since hippos can then be sold beforehand as hunting trophies.
And by "selling" the death of two thousand large mammals, Zambia could generate a tidy sum of over £2.5 million. Some travel agencies have already made offers for hunting hippos to rich hunters costing upwards of £1000.
Bearing in mind that hippopotamuses are classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List, this is worrying news for many animal rights campaigners.
Take a look at the video above to learn more.