Botswana has lifted its suspension on hunting. This move is likely to spark further debate on a politically charged issue in the southern African nation.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, and Tourism made this known in a statement.
The country has the largest population of elephants in the world. The government would ensure that the reinstatement of hunting is done in an orderly and ethical manner as it is in accordance with the law and regulations.
The number of elephants in Botswana has almost tripled to one hundred and sixty thousand since 1991.
According to the government, the conflict between farmers and the animals has increased over the years. At times, the animals destroy crops and kill villagers. Sometimes, they even damage ecosystems by tearing down trees.
However, hunting would not reduce the number of elephants. But income from the sport could benefit communities in areas where the animals live.
The average elephant hunt costs forty-five thousand dollars in neighboring countries where the practice is legal.
Fortunately, the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association, which represents ranchers who breed game for meat and hunting, welcomed the decision.
Most of Botswana’s elephants live in the country’s north-east; an area of savanna and wetlands. Also, they cross into Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, which have large populations of their own.
There are about four hundred and fifteen thousand elephants left in Africa. However, the population has been decimated through poaching for ivory, mainly in East Africa.