Zambia plans to cull 2000 hippos over five years due to anthrax

Zambia plans to cull 2000 hippos over five years due to anthrax
Photo credit: Auckland Zoo

The Zambian government will allow trophy hunters to kill 2000 hippos in a five year cull.

In 2016, the government announced a plan to kill 400 of the animals per year, claiming there was a risk of an anthrax outbreak. 

They then backed down from this original plan, but animal rights campaigners claim they have restarted the cull under the guise of a wildlife management tool.

Anthrax naturally comes into contact with animals when water levels recede, as the bacteria occur naturally in soil, reports National Geographic. 

When the spores enter a living animal, they can activate and spread, causing illness and death.

However, charity Born Free says there is no scientific evidence to support a cull, reports The Daily Mail. 

They say Zambia's Department of Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) has failed to provide "credible, scientific evidence to show that such an indiscriminate hippo cull of healthy animals would provide a future outbreak of anthrax."

The cull has been promoted to trophy hunting companies, with one South African firm offering a six-night expedition with "five hippos per hunter", reports The Daily Mail.

Hippos are classed as "vulnerable" by the World Wide Fund for Nature, and their numbers are under growing pressure in Africa.



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