South Africa bans leopard hunt - by F. Kaskais

The leopard is one of five game most desired by hunters along with lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant [Themba Hadebe/AP]

It costs up to $20,000 to shoot a leopard and foreign hunters will be refunded deposits with the cats’ numbers unclear.

South Africa has banned the leopard hunt for the 2016 season – the first time in decades hunters with deep pockets cannot target the so-called “Big 5” game animals in the country.

The temporary ban comes in the wake of a global uproar last year over the killing ofCecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by a US dentist.

The decision to ban the leopard hunt, however, was driven by science, not emotion.

South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa is a vocal advocate of the hunting industry, which the government estimates contributes $410m annually to Africa’s most advanced economy.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute, a government research organisation…

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