‘Taxi hunting’: Govt urged to get tough

2011-02-17 00:00

THE Endangered Wildlife Trust has called on the government to enforce the law and severely punish syndicates that organise illegal dog hunting trips.

A common method of syndicate hunting is called taxi hunting, which is normally organised by taxi owners betting on winning dogs.

In a statement, the trust said illegal hunting trips are decimating the environment, driving many wild animals to the brink of extinction.

It cited the Oribi Ourebia ourebi population, particularly in the midlands, as being under threat from illegal hunters.

Earlier this month the organisation and the Threatened Grassland Species Programme hosted a dog hunting stakeholder meeting.

During the meeting the organisation learned that a farmer, who once had 80 oribi antelope on his farm is now left with only five almost entirely as a result of illegal dog hunting.

Taxi hunting, rather than killing for meat, is primarily about betting on each dog’s success, which has considerable financial implications for dog owners.

Illegal hunting is also affecting property owners who are terrorised by hunting syndicates that target their land. Hunters are said to be heavily armed when conducting illegal hunts. In addition, intimidation can allegedly extend to property vandalism.

The organisation called on the government and the community to deal decisively with the hunting syndicates, adding that cases should be treated with due seriousness by South African police.

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