South Africa to allow killing of elephants

February 25, 2008 5:52:42 AM PST

In a government statement given to reporters Monday, killing elephants is described as one way of managing growing populations.

The government in 1994 banned culling the elephant population, but since then, the number of the giant beasts in the country has ballooned from 8,000 to more than 20,000. The new policy becomes official Friday.

Animal rights defenders threatened to call for tourist boycotts and protests and to take legal action against the measure.