http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/limpopo/100-animals-shot-in-five-day-hunt-1.1915207#.VfW05__ouM9100 animals shot in five-day hunt
Durban - Thirteen European hunters who went on a controversial five-day hunt this week have exposed a glaring flaw in the country’s legislation governing the practice, according to animal rights activists and advocacy groups.
The driven hunt took place on three farms in Alldays, Limpopo .
About 100 animals, chiefly warthog and antelope, were shot by the hunters, who positioned themselves on purpose-made platforms in the bush.
According to observers, including representatives of the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), 83 “chasers”, dressed in bright clothing and walking 10m apart from one another, herded animals into specially-cleared areas in the bush, where the hunters were waiting.
“This is not sporting,” said Ainsley Hay, the NSPCA’s wildlife protection unit manager.
Other wildlife advocacy groups and animal lovers also condemned the hunting expedition.
iol news pic Nt Driven chain Chasers in their brightly coloured overalls are responsible for steering "spooked" animals in the direction of the hunters. Picture: Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
“This is a rich man’s thing, it is not hunting and is absolutely shocking,” said Paul Oxton, founder of the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has given driven hunting its blessing and said the hunters complied with regulations.
The NSPCA had to make a court application to observe the five-day event, and the media were denied access.
Simon Matome, communications head of the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, said things got “acrimonious” between the owners, the media and the NSPCA, and led to the media being excluded.
Matome said ”hunting is legal in South Africa”.
“The farmers have come into ownership of property, with wild animals on the property, through land claims. They generate income through hunting, but first consult hunting associations for control reasons,” he said.
Matome visited one of the farms on Tuesday.
“They were mostly from Belgium and the Netherlands and they were licensed to hunt,” he said. “They started off on a practice range before heading out, but I didn’t see a herd of animals being slaughtered like has been reported.”
He said the dead animals were taken to the abattoir and the hunters got their trophy heads.
“If they are saying we are doing something illegal, let’s go to court. What will we be charged with?” he asked.
Matome said that although the hunting was happening on private property, there were checks in place to ensure no laws were being broken.
The Green Scorpions environmental protection agency was also keeping an eye on hunting.
“No illegality had been reported, so there was no reason to act,” Matome said.
Matome said the SPCA and other critics should put their objections to Parliament.
Hay said driven hunting was unacceptable and unethical, irrespective of whether one animal was killed or 100.
“This thing happened right under the government’s noses,” she said.
“We have more than enough forms of hunting in this country – why are we entertaining the Europeans? Many SA hunters told us they don’t want driven hunting,” said Hay.
Oxton, who had been at Alldays for much of the week, also said that many local hunters disapproved of this form of blood sport.
He said the manner in which the 83 chasers, spread across a kilometre of veld, had moved towards the animals and driven them towards the hunters, was not fair.
“That’s cruelty. The animals are afraid and cannot escape. It’s akin to canned hunting,” Oxton claimed.
The Professional Hunters Association of SA (Phasa) said they didn’t have a position on driven hunting.
“This practice is rare in Africa and occurs mostly in Europe. We have no knowledge of the event staged in Limpopo other than what has been reported in the media. None of our members participated,” said Phasa president Herman Meyeridricks.
Stephen Palos of the National Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa said the practice of driven hunting was not new, and that if hunting was banned, huge numbers of animals would end up needing to be culled.
In that case, thousands of jobs in the tourism sector would be lost.
“Driven hunts are a common, legitimate practice both here and elsewhere.
“A form of driven hunt called ‘Voorsit’ is the common way to hunt springbok in the Karoo.
“We are not anti anything which is legal.”