In a move that many people see as a great leap backwards, Botswana’s new government has decided to Re-open elephant hunting after a five year moratorium that offered the over-hunted pachyderms some welcome respite!
What a disappointment. This seems bad to me for several reasons:
It runs counter to the generally recognized importance of preserving elephants.
“Approximately 55 African elephants are poached on the continent every day“TRAFFIC https://www.traffic.org/what-we-do/species/elephants-ivory/
Twenty thousand elephants are still dying each year already, according to TRAFFIC. Actually the world doesn’t need any more dead elephants, overall the population of African Elephants has dropped catastrophically in the last two decades. This decision constitutes wasting elephants. With the current state of the world being what it is, it would be better to translocate locally unwanted elephants to places that want elephants. Live elephants are a valuable draw-card for visitors, in Kenya each elephant has been evaluated to be worth US $ 1000,000 to the national economy in tourism-related revenue.
Botswana is effectively moving instantly from a state relatively safe for elephants to one very, very dangerous. I doubt that this reversal will be received well by international donors and trading partners.
Many of the elephants in Botswana are transnational migrants from neighboring countries that protect the same elephants. Botswana’s right to shoot elephants in their territory infringes others’ rights to have the same live elephants at other times.
This move is likely to muddy the waters of elephant conservation by condemning elephants in other countries to increased poaching pressure. They could be shot abroad and their sale-able parts claimed to be “from Botswana”.
Local farmers are already being compensated for damage incurred by elephant foraging.
Be aware that trying to bring parts of African elephants into your country is a serious crime, a violation of The Washington Convention.