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Brazil To Kill Buffalo, Save Land

October 18, 2000

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Thousands of wild buffalo will be hunted and killed on western Brazil’s expansive tropical savanna because they are pushing out native species, Brazil’s environmental protection agency said Tuesday.

The agency and the Rondonia state government plan to sign an agreement with a private hunting club, which will have 10 years to kill some 15,000 buffalo roaming the 1.24-million-acre Guapore Biological Reserve. The move is an effort ``to contain the damage they have been causing the environment over the past four decades,″ the agency said in a statement.

The reserve is located about 1,200 miles northwest of Sao Paulo. Buffalo took hold there about 30 years ago after some of the animals escaped a government-run experimental breeding farm.

``Past attempts to herd the animals out of the reserve failed because much of the region is prone to flooding,″ the agency’s statement said. ``And to use helicopters to airlift them out of the reserve is just too expensive.″

``Hunting is the most economical and environmentally friendly way to eradicate the buffalo ... that are scaring away the reserve’s native species like jaguar and deer and endangering the area’s entire ecosystem,″ it said.

Meat from the slaughtered animals will distributed among the population of Rondonia and neighboring states.

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