Donna-lee Ginsberg 0

Outrage at the killing of Nonkululeko the Hippo

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Outraged: The mindless destruction of our wildlife and our heritage. This is an account of the story leading up to the killing of Nkululeko, the wandering hippo. An expression of outrage and concern for the safety of the South African Wildlife. In May 2008, Nkululeko was spotted wandering on KZN\'s North Coast after first being noticed in the sea near Richards Bay and Zinkwazi. The lone hippo, who instantly captured the hearts of the community, is thought to have migrated from the northern St. Lucia along the coast. Residents and visitors alike enjoyed Nkululeko\'s antics and quickly realized the hippo meant no harm to its neighbors of surfers, swimmers and paddle-boarders. However, it was reported Nkululeko began showing signs of stress from his numerous admirers. The officials of the South African wildlife conservation department, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW), who are responsible for protecting South Africa\'s floral and fauna, were contacted to assist the hippopotamus. However, EKZNW indicated that the hippo had no conservation value, and efforts to move the hippo, although committed to, were never executed, most likely due to the cost of the effort weighed against the perceived value of the creature. Sadly, in a country known for its wildlife, which drives considerable tourism dollars as well, a hippo is still considered \"invaluable\" and thus, not worthy of protection. On both Tuesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 10, ARA (Animal Rights Africa) was alerted to the presence of Durban Metro officials trying to shoot the hippo. Following that Steve Smit from Animal Rights Africa (ARA), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and eThekweni municipality signed a contractual agreement in the high court for ARA - Animal Rights Africa - to have Nkululeko relocated by the 28 July 2008. On Tuesday (July 15) Morning, Nkululeko the wandering hippo was killed in Verulam (Durban) after claims that Nkululeko had killed a man on Saturday night. Although, following the postmortem (of the resident), there was still NO evidence that Nkululeko had killed the man (even if it had killed the man - there is still no reason to kill the hippo) A hippo (herbivorous animal) does NOT kill for food, they only attack if their territory is encroached upon. Therefore, hypothetically, had Nkululeko killed the man, it must have been a reactive attempt to defend itself after being stressed out and aggravated by the uninformed community. KwaZulu-Natal police said the 60-year-old victim, Ben Dlamini, had been found in Verulam with one wound to the head and facial injuries. The injuries were minor compared to the damage a hippo could cause. Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson Jeff Gaisford said a hippo usually used its top and bottom tusks during an attack.\"Then you would have two holes... It\'s generally pretty clear (a hippo bite),\" he said. The resident had only one deep hole. The conservation policies of South Africa are flawed and unethical. Something needs to be done. As soon as Nkululeko was found, and they noticed that she was stressed by the people around her, wildlife authorities could have moved her to the more comfortable and safe environment - They were not given this opportunity, Ezemvelo and the Municipality disregarded all attempts put forward by Animal Rights Africa and other qualified game capture specialists willing to assist in the relocation of Nkululeko. Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW)and Animal Rights Africa (ARA) had made a legal agreement with Durban metro and eThekweni Municipality to have Nkululeko relocated by the 28 July - Although the eThekweni Municipality gave the kill order on the precept that Nkululeko killed the man, before the postmortem was finalised. KILLING IS NOT THE SOLUTION. We need to put our heads together and come up with a way for these people running our country NOT to get away with committing this atrocity! I understand the concerns for the safety of the community having a wild animal in their area. But just as the community has to take precaution in defending themselves against the high crime rate in South Africa, awareness programmes and alerts were placed to warn residents of the hippo\'s presence and allow them to respect this powerful animal. As well as the fact that Nkululeko actually has just as much right to be in the area as the residents themselves and showed no sign of aggression as a threat to the community. We are privileged to be graced with such beauty and heritage as Nkululeko in the area in which we live. Quoted from the clinical statement made by Ezemvelo regarding the “Hippo Management” they had no other choice but to “DESTROY” the hippo, if this if the solution, it won\'t be a far-gone conclusion that all our beautiful flora and fauna will be destroyed by our impatience and intolerance and most of all, our ignorance. Who is responsible for making a decision like this Why was the community not consulted Surely if the community knew that Nkululeko was going to get killed by the authorities we could have pulled together to raise enough money, man power and initiative to move Nkululeko to a safer more comfortable environment. Wildlife veterinarians undertake intensive and thorough studies in order to be able to immobilise and relocate wild animals such as Hippos. Killing was NOT the only option. Wildlife officials were given 36 hours to make their way to plan to relocate Nkululeko to safer environment following the inconclusive postmortem. The postmortem results have been delayed by 6 months, a clear indication of underlying affairs that need to be phased out before the decision is made. An underlying conclusion that Nkululeko\'s life was taken without any confirmed and justifiable reason. We are living in a desperate world of climate change and struggle to survive. These living conditions by no means advocate the lack of respect for any life form. If anything, it is in these desperate times that we should pull together, nature and humanity, to stop this \"War Against Ourselves\" (term coined by Jacklyn Cock\'s book title) What are the laws underlying the management of wildlife in our country What are the laws regarding the value of an animals life Does this country realise that the survival of an ecosystem (INCLUDING HUMANS) relies on the biodiversity of the land As a proud South African, and despite the many troubles this country faces every day along with world turmoil. I am determined to speak out and take action. I am determined to speak for the animals, the plants, the birds, the clean air and the survival of the human race, in South Africa. An incident like this is a perfect opportunity for us to constructively highlight the flaws in our countries conservation policies as well as the flaws in the attitudes of the community, to bring about change that will allow us to build a beautiful and sustainable future for ourselves, our children and our environment. eThekweni Municipality and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are now searching for a Leopard spotted in the Zulu-Kingdom area that allegedly killed farm animals in the area, a professional hunter has been assigned to seek out this elusive and beautiful creature. Unfortunately, if nothing is said or done, the leopard will be shot instead of darted and relocated. We tend to destroy what we don\'t know. Education and awareness are therefore the only solutions. From an economic perspective. We know that tourism is a large and growing sector of our economy. (Contribution to GDP) We also know that more Travel Rands are being dedicated to areas that have an interest in conservation. (TFCA\'s - Transfrontier Conservation Area\'s) Therefore isn\'t it worth our while to invest wholly and ethically in conservation AS WELL AS the rights of our animals \"\"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated\" Ghandi As said by Ghandi, you can tell a lot about the success of a country by the way they treat their animals. At the rate we are going, it will be soon that we will have nothing to measure our success by. Something needs to be done. \"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.\" For more information please contact: Donna-lee Ginsberg Founder of P.A.C.T KZN (People Acting Caring Thinking) 0824537085


ANIMAL RIGHTS AFRICA ( A non-profit organisation recognising that humans do not currently include non-human animals (herin-after referred to as �animals�) within their sphere of legal, political or moral rights-holders, and recognising further that because most humans do not generally respect animals for their inherent value, ARA has amongst it�s primary objectives, the following: -To promote the philosophy of animal rights and ethical conservation -To show that animals exist in their own right -To campaign for animals to be treated with respect -To campaign for abolition of the �property status� of animals


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