Zimbabwe warned against adopting elephant contraception

By ZBC Reporter
CONSERVATIONISTS have warned the country against adopting elephant contraception as a population management strategy given its negative social and ecological consequences.
The ballooning elephant population estimated at over 80 000, rampant human-wildlife conflict cases and the existing ban on ivory trade have become a major headache for Zimbabwe wildlife authorities.
Given the sensitivity of elephant population control debate, Zimbabwe has been exploring various options, with some quarters suggesting the use of a birth control pill for the giant creatures.
However, South African based former Hwange National Park Chief Warden, Ron Thomson believes elephant contraception is not the best option.
“Contraception besides its other drawbacks, is very expensive and it also has to be applied to individual cows every six months, and there are something like 10 thousand breeding cows in Hwange which makes the task impossible”, he said.
According to some ecologists, the elephant contraception project at Kruger National Parks around the 1990s revealed that the approach is expensive, less effective and can work best in smaller private sanctuaries.
Environment Journalist, Emmanuel Koro says sustainable harvesting and trade in hunting products remains the only feasible option for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
“The elephant contraception programme was attempted in South Africa at Kruger National Park and it failed and there is certainly no way it can work in Zimbabwe. What Africa needs to do is do manage its wildlife population by harvesting the wildlife products, “he said.
According to conservationists, Southern Africa which has the largest elephant population in the world should not be hoodwinked into adopting animal rights activists’ agenda but should consider homegrown solutions which ensure citizens derive benefits from the wildlife resources.