Abled differently; Why Botswana is mulling over elephant culling

Wildlife-human conflict is not new in Africa in its entirety but in most off the cases it is as a result of encroachment into their ecosystem. Things are totally different though in Botswana, the number of elephants has grown tremendously to close to 150000 which is very high after the government banned poaching.

A report by cabinet ministers in Botswana has recommended lifting a four-year hunting ban and the introduction of elephant culling.

After months of public meetings and consultations, the report by ministers also recommends the “establishment of elephant meat canning” for pet food.

The number of elephants in Botswana is estimated to be about 130,000, which some argue is too many for the ecosystem – there is increasing conflict between wildlife and people.

But others say the country’s tourism has grown dramatically since the ban came into place and that lifting it would affect the country’s international reputation for conservation.

Shortly after coming into office in April 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi asked ministers to review the hunting ban which was implemented by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014.

Public meetings were held and organisations, communities and individuals were asked to comment.

The report’s findings recommend that:the hunting ban should be lifted, the elephant population should be managed “within its historic range”, wildlife migratory routes “not beneficial to the country’s conservation efforts” should be closed, game ranches be demarcated to “serve as buffers between communal and wildlife areas” and the shock of “regular but limited elephant culling” introduction.

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