Officials in Botswana are considering lifting a ban on big game hunting to allow ‘regular but limited elephant culling’.
The ban came into place four years ago, but the government shared a report last week which recommended the reversal of the law.
The country is home to around a third of Africa’s elephant population, making it popular for wildlife tourism; the country’s second largest source of income. Many people have argued that tourism has increased since the ban was implemented in 2014, the BBC report.
However, some politicians are saying the population is much higher than this, and they’re claiming there is a growing conflict between humans and the animals.
The elephants are supposedly causing issues for small-scale farmers as their range across the country expands.
The director of Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Otisitwe Tiroyamodimo, told the BBC:
We started seeing that as soon as the rain started decreasing, the vegetation started deteriorating and then the elephants naturally migrated outside their natural range because they were getting very little water and very little feed.
The number of the elephants has increased – at the same time the human population also increased, and there has been demand for more land. Infrastructure development has also caused the elephants to migrate.
In June 2018, Botswana’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi set up a committee to reassess the elephant ban. It reached its conclusion on Thursday, sharing this report which read:
From the submissions made by the communities and other stakeholders, the Committee … found it necessary to propose the following recommendations…
Hunting ban be lifted. Develop a legal framework that will create an enabling environment for growth of safari hunting industry. Manage Botswana elephant population within its historic range.
All wildlife migratory routes that are not beneficial to the country’s conservation efforts be closed.
Regular but limited elephant culling be introduced and establishment of elephant meat canning, including production of pet food and processing into other by products.
The report will go through further consultation before being implemented, the BBC report.
President Masisi explained:
I can promise you and the nation that we will consider it. A white paper will follow and it will be shared with the public.
If needs be, we will give an opportunity to parliament to also interrogate it, and also allow them the space to intervene before we make a final determination.
Ideally officials will come up with an alternative proposal to the issues which will keep the hunting ban in place.
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