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Ban lifted on killing elephants

May 02, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

South Africa lifted a 13-year ban on killing elephants, a move conservationists warn could encourage poachers to slaughter the animals for ivory and threaten dwindling populations elsewhere.

Elephants, once on the verge of extinction in some parts of South Africa, are flourishing, with the population growing more than 5% annually in recent years as a result of well-managed national parks.

South African authorities want to keep a lid on the animal's burgeoning numbers and protect its viability. Killing elephants, which as adults have no natural predators and can turn woodlands to grass and stubs in a matter of years, is the best way to control the population, officials say.

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