Botswana, home to over 1300,000 elephants has lifted a ban on elephant hunting, attributing this development to overpopulation of these creatures. According to the lawmakers of the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) the elephant population have become unmanageable large in some areas.
The ban on Elephant hunting was initially placed by the then President, Ian Khama in2014. Ian Khama has often been described as a conservationist. Khama’s ban was informed by a survey that showed a decline of the Wildlife population in Botswana.
Present President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who took over from Khama last year, has reviewed this policy, finally coming to the decision to lift the ban.
“Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension,… the number and high levels of human-elephant conflict and the consequent impact on livelihoods were increasing.” Kitso Mokaila, Botswana’s Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism minister told reporters.
Human-Elephant interactions have been on the increase in the Southern African country. Sometimes, elephants are found in the fields where they eat crops and can kill people.
The ministry has also emphasized its effort to ensure that the reinstatement of elephant hunting will be done in an orderly and ethical manner, and will take place in accordance with laws and regulations governing wildlife conservation, hunting and licensing.
This new policy in Botswana is coming a few days after neighboring country, Zimbabwe concluded the sales of over 90 elephants to China and Dubai, making a $2.7 million off this sale. Botswana’s policy can also be seen in the same light; a means to generate revenue as against the publicly stated opinion of elephant overpopulation.
After seeing how much Zimbabwe made, it is possible Botswana has considered making money off a few elephants, with the hope that no one would notice due to the Elephant population in the landlocked state.
While elephant hunting looks trivial, a bigger picture of this act is poaching. The fight against poaching in Africa remains a big deal, especially in the fight against poaching of endangered species and preventing their extinction.
Poachers kill elephants illegally especially in the quest for tusks to sell.
Ivory trade, the trade of elephant tusk, still remains one of the biggest black markets that generate wealth especially among Asian countries, a major consumer of wildlife.
For years, Elephants have been killed, sold and smuggled into some of these Asian countries. Recently, China’s “Ivory Queen” Yang Feng Glan got convicted for her acts in international trafficking in Ivory.
If poaching is expected to remain illegal, Botswana’s animal hunting is now giving poachers a legal reason to continue the ivory trade.