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Media Release: WAG Statement on Elephant Culling

15 December 2005

Development of Draft Norms and Standards for Elephant Management Programme in South Africa

Statement issued on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism by the Chief Director, Communications, Mr JP Louw

1.   The Department wishes to state unequivocally that the Minister has not yet reached a decision regarding the possible use of culling as an elephant management option.

2.   SANParks has recommended a range of elephant population control measures, including capture & translocation, contraception and culling.

3.   However, the Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism has yet to decide which options will be included in the draft policy document.  He is on record as saying that culling is the management option of last resort.

4.   The Minister is currently consulting widely.  He has challenged stakeholders to propose sustainable non-lethal means of population control.  He has set aside a full day to hear presentations from a wide range of interested and affected parties.

5.   The Minister will publish Draft Norms & Standards, probably early in 2006, for public comment.  This will outline a range of proposed management options.

6.   The Department acknowledges that the development of the proposed elephant management plan evokes passionate feelings and robust debate.  All inputs are welcome and will be given serious consideration.

7.   However, the deliberate misrepresentation of the Department’s position cannot be justified or condoned:

a. Claims that Department has decided to re-introduce culling are not true - no decision has yet been made.

b. The claim that, were culling to be allowed, between 5000 – 10000 animals will be killed is equally misleading and designed to excite public opinion.

c. The suggestion that the supposed financial benefit of culling elephants is influencing policy-making is far wide of the mark and vaguely insulting.  Commentators should rather focus on identifying sustainable sources of funding for non-lethal management options such as contraception, translocation and range extension.

For more information, please call Chief Director of Communications, JP Louw on 082 569 3340

Date: 24.11.2005

Issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

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