South Africa to resume elephant culling despite criticism
South Africa announced it will resume killing elephants in May for the first time since a 1995 ban on the practice. Wildlife officials argued that culling is necessary to reduce elephant populations in the country due to their impacts on vegetation and other species; the number of elephants has more than doubled since the ban to about 20,000, which wildlife managers consider unsustainable. Animal welfare groups criticized the policy change and argued for non-lethal control measures like employing elephant contraception and expanding their habitat. Ian Whyte, former manager of the national park where most of South Africa’s elephants live, said, “Elephants have big appetites, with adults consuming on average 375 pounds of vegetation each day. In any protected area that has elephants you have two choices — you utilize the area to maintain biodiversity, or else you have an elephant sanctuary. You can’t have both.” South Africa killed over 14,500 elephants between 1967 and 1995.