Botswana, the country with the most elephants in the world (approx. 15,000 individuals) has decided to auction licenses for killing 270 elephants on Friday, 7th February, 2020, in packages of 10 each. 7 packages were sold on Friday, and hunters were allowed to kill 10 elephants each in ‘controlled hunting areas’
President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s predecessor Ian Khama had introduced a ban on hunting and poaching in 2014 to reduce the negative impact on wild animals and decline of biodiversity. The ban, now, has been lifted and environmentalists are agitated.
The ban was lifted in 2020, after officials said that it would greatly reduce human-elephant conflict, which was having a negative impact on the livelihood and agriculture of several rural and suburban communities. This is true, as rural communities have popularized the lifting of the ban as they think it would keep crop raiding herds away from their crops, and would prevent them from disrupting and destroying their infrastructure. However, hunting of 270 elephants would not stop them from raiding villages, asother herds will continue to come back to the same spot, because only the herd whose member has died will avoid the spot. Wildlife spokesperson Alice Mmolawa told the AFP that it would help reduce negative impact on areas most affected by human-elephant impact.
Ross Harvey has told the BBC that Botswana didn’t have an increase in the number of elephants in the past 5 years, instead, its had a stable population. Also, no scientific study has proven the increase in the number of elephants, so unless the govt. provides scientific backing, their arguments will hold no water.
Stay tuned to find out how the auction went.