The South African government plans to end its 10-year ban on culling elephants, which may result in the slaughter of up to 10,000 of the beasts.
But anticipating protest from animal welfare groups around the world, the government will have an 18-month consultation period before starting the cull, reports the Times of London.
Government officials say culling is needed to reduce the elephant population in the Kruger national park to protect trees, some of them 4,000 years old, as well as vegetation and water supplies. They say an adult elephant consumes about 375 pounds of vegetation a day.
The country's environment minister says between 7,000 and 10,000 animals would be killed, the report said. 'Elephant culling is something I would rather not have to do,' he said. 'If there was any way of avoiding it we would have done that. But the do-nothing approach is no longer an option.'
The current elephant population of about 14,000 in the Kruger Park reportedly has become a threat to the habitats of rare antelopes, eagles and other threatened creatures.
source : BigNews