Various media reports that the government has agreed to postpone the culling of elephants for an undetermined period have been refuted by environmental affairs spokesperson JP Louw. He says that the minister is still in the process of consultation, and has not yet decided on which direction to take. He reiterated the fact that any elephant management program is not just an issue of culling or not culling, but that the department is considering a number of management options.
Louw added that further interaction with other stakeholders on the matter is still possible. One of the experts that took part in the Scientific Round Table which elephant management earlier this year has been quoted in other media as saying that government has agreed to postpone the culling of elephants. Prof Rudi van Aarde is quoted as saying, “They listened to our arguments and have agreed to postpone the cull, but we don’t know for how long.
We want at least three years for more research.” Louw says that such statements are “wrong” and that the people making them have “no jurisdiction to speak on behalf of the department or the minister.” He said that the department is hoping that by the middle of the year it will have published draft norms and standards on the issue of elephant management. The public will then be afforded another opportunity to comment on the matter. Elephant management options include culling, contraception, translocation and conservation corridors.