Charmaine Noronha / AP
Botswana, home to the world's largest elephant population, is attempting to single out the number of giant mammals by lifting a wildlife-hunting ban after a group of Cabinet ministers advocated this step.
In June, President Mokgweetsi Masisi commissioned a government subcommittee to review a moratorium on trophy hunting established by its predecessor in 2014. On Thursday, the group said that it had decided to lift the ban prohibiting the pachyderms from hunting in public areas.
Frans Solomon Van Westhuizen, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the group recommends allowing "regular but limited elephant disbursement" and creating a legal framework for the cultivation of Botswana safari.
The group also recommends the establishment of elephant meat canned, also for the production of pet food and other by-products.
This marks a sharp turnaround for Botswana, which was welcomed by the Conservatoire for its robust conservation of wildlife.
Former President Ian Khama ordered the hunting ban to be issued during his term of office. The government said it was spurred to act after seeing signs "that several species are declining in the country". The ban had no effect on hunting in registered and private game farms, where it is strictly regulated under the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act.
The government said, however, that the ban would be temporary, as it concerned understanding of the "prohibition of wildlife" reasons for the decline and, if possible, corrective action to reverse the trend [sic]. "
President Masisi said this afternoon (21.2.19) in presidential office, he looks forward to the future
– The Government of Botswana (@BWGovernment) February 21, 2019
supporters of the ban say Botswana is a success story in protecting its wildlife, but some argue that the rules may have worked a bit too well, to the detriment of both animals and humans.
"Some people are concerned that elephants have recovered more than The environment can survive and there is considerable concern about the increasing conflict between humans and elephants, "says Elephants Without Borders, a nonprofit conservation organization." Over the last 20 years, Botswana's elephant population has grown by 53%, raising concern about its effects of elephants on the biodiversity, the survivability of other species as well as the livelihood and safety of elephant living
Deputy Konstantinos Markus, who led the effort to lift the ban, has argued that "the expansion of the elephant population in Botswana
Mark told Reuters that rural residents were hostile to the elephant, especially in the north, where he said the harvest-eating animals cut corn yields by nearly three-quarters. "This crop loss has less opportunity for the community to take care of their households."
Accurately capturing the elephant population in Botswana – and even deciding whether to grow it – is difficult, partly because of the herds being able to move to neighboring countries, the government says. Markus and other officials estimated the figure at around 230,000. However, according to the African Elephant Status Report in 2016, the figure was closer to 100,000 and had even fallen since the last survey was conducted a decade earlier.
Proponents of repealing the ban also say that this would bring an economic blessing to Botswana. A research paper released in 2017 found that the moratorium had harmed communities by depriving them of safari tourism dollars and job opportunities.
But Mike Chase, who founded Elephants Without Borders, says that "Elephant Hunting plays an important role Communities have no use, there is no evidence, and indeed, the impressive growth of the broader ecotourism industry over the last 20 years shows the opposite.
National Geographic says the Botswana photo tourism industry is far more lucrative than the hunting industry.
The decision to lift the ban now lies with President Masisi, who reviews the group's recommendations.
"If necessary We will give Parliament the opportunity to question it and give them room to intervene before we make a final decision," Masisi said on Thursday ts The East African.