Elephants could become PET FOOD in Botswana as the government prepares to lift ban on big game hunting and start cull
- Hunting ban created in 2014 may be reversed, says country’s president
- Lawmakers complain elephant population of 130,000 is ‘actually much higher’
- Committee recommends laws to ‘enable growth of a safari hunting industry’
- Money from tourism expected to outstrip trophy hunter funds this year
Botswana, home to 130,000 elephants, is considering lifting a ban on big game hunting, to combat what the government says is ‘growing conflict between humans and wildlife’, and recommends that the meat is used for pet food.
Some lawmakers claim that estimations of the size of the large mammal’s population is much higher and causes problems for small-scale farmers.
The south African country, which is home to a third of Africa’s elephants, imposed a law against their killing in January 2014.
African bush elephants may lose their protection from the 2014 law because of ‘the need to control the population size’
A committee appointed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to review the hunting ban handed a report on the matter to Masisi late on Thursday.
A Botswanan government spokesperson said President Masisi was looking forward to reading the report and promised to take its recommendations into consideration.
A herd of elephants gather with their young for a drink at a Botswanan waterhole in one of the country’s national parks
Conservationists set Botswana’s elephant population at 130,000, but lawmakers claim the actual figure is much higher than this
‘The decision to temporarily ban hunting was necessitated by available information which indicated several species in the country were on the decline,’ they continued.
‘We recommend … a legal framework that will enable the growth of a safari hunting industry and manage the country’s elephant population within the historic range,’ said Frans Van Der Westhuizen who chaired the committee that also called for ‘regular but limited’ elephant culling.
Masisi set up the committee in June 2018 to consider the ban imposed by former president Ian Khama after surveys showed declining wildlife populations in the north.
Bush elephants populate much of the Chobe national park and river which border with Zambia in the north of the country
A Botswanan Defence Force colonel moves near the marked remains of an elephant killed in the Chobe national park area
Masisi said he would present the report to his cabinet before making a decision.
Botswana, the size of France and mostly arid, has a population of around 2.3 million people and vast tracts of remote wilderness that make it a magnet for foreign tourists who want to view wildlife.
International tourism could generate £160m for Botswana this year, rising to £280m by 2021 – more than trophy hunters spend across the whole of southern Africa.