South Africa’s flagship national park will cull 350 hippopotamuses and buffaloes to prevent deaths of other animals during the country's worst drought in decades, a spokesman for South African National Parks (SANParks) said Thursday.
The total number of 350 from both species will be "humanely shot" in Kruger Park during this year, spokesman Ike Phaahla said.
The goal is to prevent the animals from consuming grass that might have allowed other animals to survive. Many of the hippos and buffaloes might have starved to death anyway, Phaahla said.
The Kruger Park, which is about as large as the state of Israel, has approximately 47,000 buffaloes and 7,500 hippopotamuses. The meat of the culled animals was due to be donated to nearby communities, local media reported.
Southern Africa is suffering from its worst drought in three decades, with millions of people facing food insecurity in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.