“Why be kind to tahrs?”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2004:

CAPE TOWN–Twenty-three prominent South African
environmentalists on April 4, 2004 published a joint letter urging
the immediate massacre of the last Himalayan tahrs on Table Mountain.
Endangered in India, where the goat-like tahrs are native,
they are officially deemed “invasive” in South Africa. The Table
Mountain herd, culled sporadically for nearly 30 years, is
descended from a pair who escaped from the long defunct Groote Schuur
Zoo in 1936. A helicopter count recently found 51, but Table
Mountain National Park staff say there may be as many as 150.
Fifty-four tahrs were killed in 2000 before an effort to
exterminate them was halted at request of former Indian minister for
animal welfare Maneka Gandhi and Friends of the Tahr, who hoped to
repatriate the survivors to India but have not raised enough money to
do it.
“Why be kind to tahrs specifically? Why not a ‘Friends of
the Norwegian rat’ or a ‘Friends of the cholera virus’?” asked the
joint letter from the environmentalists.
The joint letter was reportedly drafted by Working For Water
chair Guy Preston.

The joint letter followed a November 2003 position paper in
which World Wildlife Fund South Africa conservation director Rob
Little asserted that, “Animal rights is a threat to conservation.”
Little warned that according rights to animals “can lead to
lack of control of introduced invasive alien species, lack of
control of overabundant large native herbivores,” i.e. elephants,
“in protected areas where their uncontrolled population growth
reduces the viability and biodiversity of ecosystems, and opposition
to the sustainable consumptive use of native wildlife.”
Translated Kalahari Raptor Centre co-director Chris Mercer:
“As humans become more concerned with the ethical treatment of
animals, this process might even result in hunters having to sell
their guns.”

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