Elephant overpopulation: SADC urged to take bold decisions

By Luckmore Safuli

SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism and Environment will this Friday meet virtually to deliberate on interventions to deal with the ballooning elephant population which has emerged as a ticking time bomb for the region.

Elephant over-populated SADC counties are racing against time in dealing with real and serious threats posed by numbers which have ballooned beyond the carrying capacity of national parks and in  the process increasing pressure on the habitat.

Speaking ahead of the SADC Ministers responsible for Tourism and Environment meeting set for this Friday, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Hon Mangaliso Ndlovu stressed the need for urgent action and bold decisions.

We will be looking at how we can explore different alternatives of benefitting from our wildlife and we are not apologetic about this. We will not continue to beg to benefit from our resources. So I expect that there will be very strong sentiments and a clear position that will be taken from the meeting which be held on Friday, noted Minister Ndlovu.

Guided by science and the need to promote sustainable conservation, Zimbabwe which has the second largest elephant population in the world is exploring several options including culling as part of population control measures.

We will consider among other options the possibility of culling. It is a scientific process that we will allow to take its course and we will be fully advised in terms of whether or not it is viable, he added.

 With less than 10 months before the crucial 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP19) scheduled for Costa Rica, SADC is expected to come with a strong position and will seek a review of the ban on ivory trade.

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