In a highly controversial move, South Africa announced it would permit some tightly regulated killing of elephants, which have become too numerous for the land available to them.
In a sense, the country is the victim of a great success. A century ago, barely 200 elephants were left in South Africa. Now there are 18,000 elephants in a land where the human population has grown enormously. Some wildlife groups remain strongly opposed to any killing, arguing it would open the door to return to the days when elephants were killed indiscriminately.
COMMNET: I hate the thought of animals this intelligent being killed without the direst need. Still, it's not clear what other options South Africa has. Practically speaking, they can't relocate large numbers of people to create more game preserves, and too many elephants in the available space can wreck the habitat for many other species. It points up once again how there are no easy answers to conservation policy questions.