Friday, February 23, 2024

In a secretive move Government overturns decision on culling 2000 hippos in the Luangwa Valley


Born Free pleads with Zambian President to spare the lives of 2,000 wild hippos

Hippo massacre could be bloody reality if government-approved cull goes ahead

In a shocking and secretive move, Zambian authorities have overturned their 2016 decision to suspend the brutal culling of up to 2,000 hippos in the world-famous Luangwa Valley over the next five years. The cull is once again being promoted to trophy hunters as a hunt, this time by the South African hunting outfitter Umlilo Safaris. Wildlife charity, Born Free, who led efforts to stop the slaughter in 2016, is calling for the authorities to urgently re-consider and abort this barbaric agreement that only benefits private safari hunting companies and trophy hunters.

Born Free President, Will Travers OBE, stated: “Our sources reveal that the government has moved swiftly to reinstate the cull, perhaps hoping this would go unnoticed. Far from it! They are, apparently, using the same flawed rational for the slaughter as last time – a preventative measure to avoid a future outbreak of anthrax, combined with an assertion that low rainfall will exacerbate the situation. They also appear not to have informed key stakeholders in the Luangwa Valley, including the Luangwa Safari Association and the District Commissioner. The negative consequences for thousands of hippo and Zambia’s reputation as a wildlife tourism destination – the proposed cull site can be seen from the internationally-renowned Chichele Lodge – cannot be under-estimated.”

The Zambian Ministry of Justice has apparently decided that the original and discredited contract between The Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) and Mabwe Safaris – the Zambian company who were awarded the culling contract last time – should be honoured and that the cull is to start imminently. Hunting camps are already being set up. However, the original contract was, in Born Free’s view, based on false information and should be rescinded.

The DNPW is seeking to justify the cull by claiming it is a ‘wildlife management tool’ to prevent anthrax outbreaks among wildlife due to high populations of hippo, compounded by unusually low rainfall in Luangwa. However, Born Free asserts that this isn’t the case.

Will Travers confirmed: “Leaving to one side the vitally important moral and ethical arguments, these same justifications attempted last time should be rejected, again, for the following reasons:

DNPW has, to date, failed to provide robust, scientific evidence demonstrating that there is an overpopulation of hippos in the Luangwa River or make public the Government of Zambia report that has previously been cited in their justification

DNPW have failed to provide robust, scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that previous hippo culls in the Luangwa Valley have been successful in reducing the hippo population over the long-term.
DNPW has failed to provide rainfall and river level data showing that river levels and water flow in the Luangwa River are abnormally low and cannot sustain the current hippo population
DNPW has failed to provide credible, scientific evidence to show that such an indiscriminate hippo cull of healthy animals would prevent a future outbreak of anthrax – nor prevent the spread of an existing one.
Scientific evidence suggests that culling hippos stimulates breeding and ends up increasing the population, potentially establishing a vicious cycle of death and destruction.
Wild hippo numbers across Africa are under increasingly pressure with a maximum estimate of just 130,000 animals – about one third of the number of the high-profile African elephant. Furthermore, as efforts increase to end the trade in elephant ivory, hippos are being increasingly targeted for their ivory as a replacement. Latest data confirms that in the decade to 2016, more than 6,000 hippo teeth, 2,048 hippo tusks and a further 1,183 hippo ‘trophies’ were exported to EU Member States alongside thousands of other ‘parts and products’. International trade records show that from 2004-2014 around 60,000 kg of hippo ivory were imported into Hong Kong.”

Travers concluded: “Born Free is asking national and international wildlife conservation organisations, concerned individuals and those who have a strong affinity with hippos, to join us in calling on the President of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to personally intervene and call a permanent halt to this damaging and distressing plan, with immediate effect.”

Umlilo Safaris are promoting the hippo ‘hunt’ on hippo management hunt Zambia 2018-2019


The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with an estimated population of just 115-130,000 animals. The Red List assessment notes that hippo population declines continue to be reported in many countries, and that “The conservation status of Hippos remains precarious and the need for direct conservation action to protect Hippos and Hippo habitat across their range is a priority”.

Issued by Gemma Hook
Born Free PR Director


  1. If true, this would be consistent with current government policy of secrecy, plundering of natural resources, and complete disregard of what is best for our beautiful country.

    I do not know when these people will stop stealing money. It is free for all in this regime.

    Lungu, tell me please…how much money is enough? Do you really think it is funny stealing? Or being impotent?

    • What do you expect when the President’s nationality is questionable and he is planning to build his retirement love nest abroad. Do you seriously think such a man has a heart for the country?

    • I don’t think Lungu and his minions are now stealing as much as before the issue here is now one of desperation ….how they will keep the government going with the financial mess they have put the country in. IMF is not giving them any relief so they need to find sources to keep wheels turning they have silently commenced load shedding among other things to export as much power as possible, they are taxing nearly any thing eg boreholes bali muchibe ba mambala aba …only Issue is Chagwa himself takes things to casually wasted years indeed as per Jay Jay

    • Controlling hippo population is a very good thing especially that Zambia will make some money out of this exercise. UPND does not understand this if HH is not part of it.

    • Shameless – This is why I say Maesbo was one courageous woman indeed to ban Big Cat Hunting ….this is one very corrupt sector the issuing of licences to these companies full of Zambian Pakistanis/Indians and Boers..they were so annoyed with her that they didn’t stop still she was gone..
      And they wont stop till all the lions are gone…I mean who is monitoring??

    • For the love of money is there anything wrong in controlling population of hippos which are terrorizing villagers in Mambwe

    • Way too many secretive activities in Lungu’s administration. This guy doesn’t even care about Zambia’s wildlife. Most likely even the animals know that too, that this guy doesn’t care about them. And brutality to wildlife is a cause that unites people globally. So just let social media know about this. Tell the world about these bloodthirsty animal killers, who are getting ready to begin the slaughter of innocent Hippos. Let them feel the wrath of the global community. Just get ready with the cameras, people. Post the images online as soon as they get started. Trophy hunters are deplorable.

  2. Wasted years indeed…as I am typing trophy hunters are shooting lions in our National Parks so they can go and display them in their lounges like those in National Assembly and State House.

  3. What’s wrong with this president?I now agree that he is not can a Judge allow animals to be killed?indeed we have crazy govt officials and judges who dont care about Zambia.let the president rescind the decision otherwise he gonna run after 2021.he wants to make money in all areas even killing hippos awe cacila ba mudala aba.

  4. Is a hippo an endangered animal? What are the feelings of the local residents who have been complaining of hippos destroying their crops and preventing them from carrying on with their normal business.

    • Local residents complain about all wildlife eating their crops , does not mean we cull.

      This is just desperation by lungu to raise money….he has run out of ideas on more taxes …..

    • Ba Spaka naimwe muleikalafye. All the time against government even without analyzing the situation. Culling of hippos is not a new thing. It’s done periodically. Right now there’s more than 1/2 million roaming and terrorizing villagers. I’m sure if this born free had recommended culling and government refused, your story was going to be different.

  5. Well done Born Free for exposing this Hippo-gate scandal just hatching.

    Recent history has evidently shown that this type of secretive action by Fugitive Lungu’s PF-Govt is motivated by corruption above anything else. Therefore, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and even its rationale is like that of a duck for lack of empirical and scientific evidence, then it is a duck.

    Tourism industry must be protected by all well-meaning Zambians because unlike copper/cobalt Mining which is a wasting asset, Tourism has unlimited lifespan and will be there forever to provide jobs and means of subsistence to our children and grand-children and onwards…

    When the time to investigate Fugitive Lungu comes, Hippo-gate scandal will have to be included.

    • You invested EUROBONDS in silly overpriced roads and grossly overpriced contracts with zero returns and you have the cheek to ask if who will pay? Go to State House and ask them who they have become so rich in a space of 5 years

  6. Look at Bostwana…they have a growing population of Elephant because of there excellent conservation programs yet have refused to bowl to pressure of the Boer trophy hunters to cull some of them!!!

  7. Let them go ahead and cull them. I’m reliability informed that one hippo is $1 million. At-least we spent $42 million on 42 F/tenders. from 2000 hippos we cull 200, just 200 oh my God ! we are rich! $200 million just like that! The only caution let them not kill [women] hippos for continuity. Ma, ma give us a signal!!!

  8. It is funny how most of you believe everything the Muzungu says and will say anything to defend it. But, do you know that the Muzungu has wiped out millions of animals that roamed North America for example. These people are just after their interests and nothing else. For those of you who were born yesterday the culling has been done before without any negative impact. In the 70s about a thousand hippos were slaughtered and you should know that the hippo has no natural predator.

    • @ Habenzu
      It is funny how you are always anti-muzungu and yet, without muzungu you will be sucking your d!ck in order to get some proteins
      As to “…hippo has no natural predator…”, your knowledge of wildlife is equivalent to the rest of your non existing intellect, absolute crap.
      Only yesterday you are supporting PF government vague policy of promoting tourism and to day you are endorsing culling of wildlife. By any chance you are expecting tourists to come and visit “attractions” like UTH, CBD, ecological disaster area created by Vendata and Co., artistic performance by Zambia Police Service or lecture by Mumbi Phiri?

    • Hippos have no natural predators?
      Really? Last time I checked it did. More than one in fact. Get your facts straight.

  9. @ Nubian Princess

    If you have toured the Zambian national parks and game reserves before and did your survey very very well, you will find that -0.47 persons are killed by Hippos on average per month. Therefore, it would be wise if possible for government to consider secretly perhaps ‘Mosquito Hunters’ to wipe even half of the mosquitoes that have been killing about 0.98 persons per month on average.

  10. Bottom Line!!! Control Humans before you control animals. Power-Play, money, hidden Agendas….ALL LEAD TO THE DEATH OF THE VOICELESS ONES!!!
    How disgusting humans are in reality!

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