Botswana government has re-introduced elephant hunting, citing growing conflict between humans and the animals, which at times destroy crops.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, in his statement referred to elephants as predators and their numbers appear to have increased. He said a subcommittee found that conflicts between humans and elephants have risen, harming livestock and the livelihood of Botswana people.
Botswana has up to 130,000 elephants, the world’s largest population.
This decision may likely trigger an angry reaction from conservationist, who believe the move is political.
The lifting of ban could as well damage the country’s international reputation for conservation and affect its revenues from tourism, the second largest source of foreign income after diamond mining.
In May, Botswana’s newly elected president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, made international headlines for giving three African leaders stool made of elephant feet.
In June, Masisi requested a review of the ban on hunting elephants imposed by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014, his study group recommended “regular but limited elephant cunning’ in addition to establishing elephant meat canning for pet food and other products. Among other conclusions, it recommended the government expand Botswana’s safari hunting industry.
On Thursday May 23, the government accepted all recommendations except the regular culling of elephants and the establishment of meat canning; it was rejected because culling is not considered as acceptable, given the overall continental status of elephants.
The government said, a more suitable method such as selective cropping should be employed.