Elephant hunting is a “blood sport” – even if Botswana’s recently elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi gave it his blessing—by okaying the auctioning off of permits that will allow 70 elephants to be killed, starting in April 2020, by trophy hunters.
The group Auction It Ltd sold off permits, on behalf of the government, in packages of 10 elephants each, according to Huffington Post. These in turn will be sold at profit to safari hunting groups. The auction amounts to $39,000 a head. The UK’s Independent reported that African conservationist organizations that wanted to bid on the permits and not shoot the elephants were banned from bidding.
After a 5-year hunting ban by his predecessor Ian Khama, President Masisi revoked the ban last year and backed the idea of culling wild elephants in areas where there is close contact with farms and humans.
Masisi personally gave away ottomans made from elephant feet to visiting heads of state!
Huffpo says, “The government has set a quota for killing a total of 272 of the animals this year. Foreign hunters will be allowed to shoot 202 of those, and export trophies.”
“’Trophy hunting is artificial selection,’” according Eduardo Goncalves in the Independent article. “’By targeting the biggest and strongest animals, it leaves the weaker, smaller animals behind.’” Founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, Goncalves says, “’This means the best genes are being lost, so the species will be less able to adapt to accelerating climate change, it will be more prone to disease, and the risk of extinction is greater.’”
“Conservationists warn that hunting is particularly devastating because trophy hunters are after the largest, often healthiest, animals.”
And this doesn’t account for the poaching that goes on unchecked!
Botswana is home to some 130,000 elephants, the world’s largest population.
But Africa’s total elephant population has plummeted by more than two-thirds in 40 years, from 1.3 million in 1979 to 415,000 in 2015, according to official figures.
Wildlife tourism in Botswana – activities that don’t threaten or harm wild elephant populations, with photo safaris and similar programs — represents 20% of the nation’s economy. Many fear that the trophy hunting safaris will turn tourists away.
Rosemary Alles, co-founder and president of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, said: “Studies have shown that local communities do not reap the benefits that they are promised from the hunting industry. NOTE: You can take action and send a letter through their site.
“Killing 272 elephants in Botswana will not control elephant numbers, it will not reduce human-elephant conflict and will not create jobs in areas where opportunities are scarce.”
Add your voice to oppose trophy hunting in Botswana. You’ll be agreeing this is a conservation disaster in the making. Check out the change.org petition https://www.change.org/p/botswana-s-wildlife-decisions-gmfer-petitions-government-for-answers