Could Botswana lift the ban on trophy hunting?
Botswana has a problem with elephants – it’s got too many. The Great Elephant Census in 2016 estimated the population at 130,000, up to one third of the number on the continent, and now the country’s politicians say it’s time to act.
In June, Botswana’s MPs passed a motion calling on the Government to overturn the ban on the hunting of elephants outside protected areas in order to reduce crop-raiding.
Samson Guma, who represents a constituency on the Botswana- Zimbabwe border, said farmers in his region had struggled for years with elephants invading their land and destroying their crops.
Mark Jones, for the British-based conservation charity Born Free, says a blanket hunting ban for all species was introduced in Botswana in 2014 and it may have led to a loss of income and meat to local communities.
But he adds: “Sport hunting can’t contribute to elephant population management and isn’t an appropriate response to human-elephant conflict. While it may provide some income for local people, the studies I’ve seen suggests very little revenue filters down to them.” There is also some concern that reversing the ban could lead to Botswana supporting the legalisation of the international ivory trade. A consultation process began in August. JF
FIND OUT MORE The Great Elephant Census: greatelephantcensus.com
Overturning the ban on elephant hunting in Botswana will court controversy.