Elephant herds too mighty?

Conservationists and animal activists in South Africa are at odds over the fate of elephants as government officials there announced their intent to cull herds to more manageable sizes.

Killing elephants has been illegal in the country for 14 years. In that time the animals’ numbers have skyrocketed from 8,000 to 20,000. The proposed culling was announced last week by Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s minister of environmental affairs and tourism, who said the measure would be used as a last resort, reported The Times.

Meanwhile, potential responses from animal-rights activists range from calling upon tourists for a boycott to public protests and lawsuits. Acknowledging the population is too large, some of the groups suggest contraception as the answer; others say relocation is the key since there is a dearth of elephants in many other regions of Africa.