Marauding jumbos trigger Botswana hunting debate
around like old days.”
Mike Chase, co-founder of Elephants Without Borders, believes almost no elephants were poached in the country last year.
“These animals are highly intelligent. When they’re being disturbed in another area, they will move to where they know they’re going to be safe,” Chase said.
“And in the case of Botswana, lots of our elephants are essentially political refugees, fleeing persecution in neighbouring countries.”
After flying over the country for 100 hours, Chase calculates that 130,000 elephants live in Botswana — of a total population in Africa of 470,000.
But across the continent, 20 000 to 30 000 elephants are killed every year by poachers supplying the Asian market — mainly China — which highly values ivory products.
Environment Minister Khama is determined to preserve Botswana’s record on protecting its elephants.
“The elephants will find refuge in this country, and we will continue to assist, because if we don’t look after the species, who’s going to?” he said.
For Amos Mabuku, chairman of the Chobe enclave conservation trust, the government has forgotten the everyday reality that there are too many elephants near villages like Mabele.
“The attitude of local people has changed, it’s becoming negative,” he said.
“We used to tell the community ‘conserve elephants’, so that you get profit. But now why conserve?” he said. — AFP
TOURISTS look at elephants in the waters of the Chobe River in the northeast of Botswana.