Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Born Free Foundation Media Release - 15th June 2016

For Immediate Release 15th June 2016


Zambia’s hippos safe – for now

Decision to suspend cull follows high-profile campaign led by Born Free

International wildlife charity, Born Free Foundation, has welcomed the Zambian authorities’ decision to suspend a highly controversial cull of 400 hippopotamuses a year over the next five years in the Luangwa River Valley, following a high-profile campaign led by Born Free and supported by international experts and Zambian nationals.

According to an official statement from the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) the cull, which started last month, was being suspended to allow for further consultation with stakeholders. Born Free will continue to closely monitor events.

Born Free President and Co-Founder, Will Travers OBE, stated: “Leaving aside the ethical dimension – whether it is morally acceptable to kill hundreds of healthy animals to prevent a possible future outbreak of a disease – other important questions remain to be answered. Is there an overpopulation of hippo and on what is this evaluation based? Is culling an effective anthrax control strategy and, again, where is the evidence?”

There has been widespread shock and outrage on social media since news of the cull was reported last week by Born Free. The distressing news made headlines across the world and may have prompted the decision of the authorities to suspend the cull.

Though the cull was reportedly sanctioned by DNPW as a ‘wildlife management tool’ to prevent the possible future spread of anthrax among wild animals (although, for the first time, the DNPW is now claiming low river levels as a justification), the killing was opened up to non-Zambian trophy hunters. A five-year hunting contract had been awarded to Mabwe Safaris, and was being marketed by a South African hunting company called De Marillac Safaris.

Travers added: “I sincerely hope that, on reflection, the DNPW will decide to permanently abandon plans for a cull. Were they to recommence the killing, without doubt there would be members of the safari-going public who would decide to spend their money elsewhere to view Africa’s magnificent wildlife legacy.”



Shirley Galligan, PR Director T: 0207 792 9668 M: 07773 848352
Beth Brooks, Press Officer T: 01403 246903 M: 07544 209256
Victoria Lockwood, PR Officer T: 01403 240170 M: 07814 284756

Notes to Editors:

About Born Free

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase-out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.

Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit: