Leakey backing for elephant cull

Wildlife News

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

The eminent conservationist Richard Leakey has given qualified backing for South Africa's plan to cull elephants.

"Though I find elephant culling repugnant, I can see the sense in it "-- Richard Leakey

In an article for the BBC News website, the former head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service says culling is "a necessary part of population management".

But Dr Leakey says there is also a responsibility to curb human activities that impinge on elephant habitat.

South Africa plans to allow culling after a gap of 14 years because of growing numbers of elephants.

The population is estimated to have expanded from 8,000 to 18,000 in little more than a decade. The plan has aroused the ire of some environment and animal welfare groups.

Some are so opposed to the plan that they have called for tourist boycotts.

Necessary evil

Having made his name as a palaeontologist studying the origins of humanity in Africa, the 1980s saw Dr Leakey at the forefront of the movement campaigning for the suspension of elephant culling.

But now he sees it as necessary.

"While I will never 'like' the idea of elephant culling, I do accept that given the impacts of human-induced climate change and habitat destruction, elephants inside and outside of protected areas will become an increasingly serious problem unless key populations are reduced and maintained at appropriate levels," he writes in an article for the BBC's Green Room series.

To read the remainder of this story please visit the website below:

Qualified support for Elephant Cull from Dr. Richard Leakey


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