Animal welfare groups in South Africa on Monday failed to prevent the opening of a week-long “driven hunt”, in which foreign hunters pay to shoot wildlife that is herded past them for easy dispatch.
More than 20 Belgian and Dutch hunters took part in the hunt on a farm near the town of Alldays, in the northern province of Limpopo.
Taking aim from purpose-built platforms overlooking a bush strip, hunters are able to shoot at hundreds of wild animals including baboons, warthogs and antelope as they pass.
Just two months after the global furore surrounding the slaughter of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, the hunt has rekindled controversy over the killing of wildlife for sport.
Such was the anger over the death of Cecil, who was being tracked by Oxford University as part of a research project, that the hunter – Walter Palmer, a dentist from Bloomington, Minnesota – was forced into hiding, emerging only this week to make a public statement.
The National Council of SPCAs, the South African animal welfare group, appealed for the driven hunt to be stopped.
Ainsley Hay, the group’s manager of wildlife protection, said that it was trying to obtain a warrant to prevent the hunt from the magistrates court in the town of Louis Trichardt.
“Our team is trying to get the warrant, but the hunters are there already and the shooting is about to start,” she said.
Later reports said 18 animals were killed on Monday.
She said an indigenous community in the area had claimed the land and was renting it out to “individuals” who were hosting the hunt as a way of earning income.
“They have built platforms that line the bush for the hunters to stand on and have employed locals to walk in a straight line beating metal drums to chase the animals into the slaughter strip.Every hunt brings with it the chance to see a huge variety of wild African game and unforgettable views of the Limpopo wilderness. You’ll keep these memories for the rest of your life.
“The hunters then take pot shots at the animals. The animals have no chance of evading the onslaught and the hunters have no way of ensuring a clean shot or a humane death.
“From past hunts like these we have seen that much of the kill can’t be eaten or used as trophies because the dead animals are so full of bullets.”
The hunt, at Braam Farm outside Alldays, is due to last for one week. Hundreds of animals could be killed each day.
Hermann Meyeridricks, president of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa, said he did not have enough information about the hunt to comment.
“There is a media frenzy around hunting at present and we don’t know enough about this this kind of hunting, which has been going on for centuries in Europe.
“I have no mandate to investigate activities of citizens of this country.”
This article was first published by The Telegraph on 07 Sep 2015.
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