Born Free has welcomed news that the planned hippo cull in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley – which threatened the lives of around 1,250 hippos – appears to have been cancelled.
International pressure from Born Free, and others, for the Zambian government to justify the reasons for such a cull, together with fears of legal action, and calls from the National Association of Community Resources Board in Zambia to reverse the cull, had mounted-up in opposition. These factors are all understood to have led to the Zambian authorities reversing their decision to cull, with hunting operator Mabwe Adventures, which was originally awarded the culling contract in 2016, withdrawing from the agreement.
Born Free has campaigned against the cull since it was first announced in 2016, pointing out that there was no scientific justification for the cull, which was clearly a commercial venture disguised as wildlife management.
Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy, said: “Born Free is grateful to all those who have played their part in preventing this controversial hippo cull from becoming a reality. In particular, we applaud the courage of local community representatives who have stood resolutely against the slaughter, which would have seen their precious wildlife plundered by foreign hunters with little or no local benefits. Their determination shows what can be achieved when local people and international groups stand firmly together for the protection of wildlife.
“We urge the Zambian government to confirm to the media that it has no further intentions to introduce hippo culls in the Luangwa Valley and that this cull is indeed cancelled. We also stand ready to work with the Zambian authorities to help secure a future of peaceful and prosperous co-existence between Zambia’s wildlife and its people.”
The local community in Luangwa have confirmed to Born Free that local Chiefs and Community Resource Boards where the hippo cull was to take place were visited recently by the owner of Mabwe Adventures who informed them the Zambian government had cancelled the cull due to the criticism they had received from both the local community and internationally.