Botswana’s elephant population was estimated at 130,000 against the 2011 Elephant Management Survey having estimated the country’s carrying capacity at 54,000. More than 70% (approx. 80,000) of the elephant population is now outside of designated parks and game reserves.
As a result, elephants are destroying fences and crops, farmers are losing their livelihoods and the Human-Wildlife Conflict has resulted in deaths. There have been several harmless initiatives to keep elephants within designated areas, which for the most part have been unsuccessful.
President Masisi has carried out due diligence and consulted various conservationists and relevant organisations, as well as those Batswana directly affected by the over-population of elephants. As such, the decision to lift the ban was taken but doing so in an extremely limited, tightly controlled fashion.
However, this decision has not stopped an onslaught of abuse from the global public, news stations and celebrities primarily located in countries such as the UK and America. YourBotswana has received a number of messages/comments that can only be described as vile and fuelled by total hatred. We could quote the bible and say, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” We could quote the old proverb, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” But instead, we would like to use the facts to put things into perspective.
In the UK…
- Badgers are killed to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis. BOAR are killed because they damage wild plants.
- Canadian Geese are killed because their droppings are detrimental to the environment.
- Mink are killed because they prey on birds and voles.
- Moles are killed because molehills damage fields, gardens and football pitches.
- Parakeets are killed because they destroy crops and nest on buildings and mobile phone masts.
- Rabbits are killed to prevent damage to properties.
- Raptors are killed because they prey on protected birds and threaten Fish Farmers’ livelihoods.
- Ruddy Ducks are killed because they interbreed with white-headed ducks and threaten its extinction.
- Seals are killed because they eat too many fish.
- Grey Squirrels are killed to protect the UK’s native Red Squirrels.
- Corvids are killed to control an increase in population.
- Deer are killed because they threaten biodiversity and cause road traffic accidents.
- Goats are killed because they are a nuisance to residents and the environment.
- Gulls are killed because they breed too often as a result of climate change.
- Hedgehogs are killed because they eat bird eggs.
It is estimated that 400,000 foxes die each year in Britain – on roads, shot or through natural causes. Before the Hunting Act, registered hunting packs were estimated to kill between 21,000 and 25,000 foxes a year.
In the USA, all the following animals have been killed for a variety of ‘justified’ reasons:
- Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
- Red-tailed Hawks
- Mountain Lions
- Gray Wolves
- Northern Mockingbirds
- Canadian Geese
- Herring Gulls
- White-tailed Deer
- Cliff Swallows
- Great Blue Herons
- Black Bears
- Barn Owls
- Eastern Bluebirds
- Snowy Owls
- Flying Squirrels
Mute Swans, which swim near City Island, New York City, are considered an invasive species by the state, who plans to eradicate them by 2025.
Animal Testing: Over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in US labs every year. Even animals that are protected under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) can be abused and tortured, as the law doesn’t require the use of valid alternatives even if they are available.
The dog meat industry is a huge business in 11 countries around the world. Over 25 million dogs are killed each year and generates over $200,000,000 in profits. The 11 countries include China, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic and two cantons in Switzerland.
The practice, known as whale driving, sees children as young as 5 years old take part in the hunt of 180 whales in the village of Sandavágur. Every summer, hundreds of pilot and beaked whales are killed across the Faroe Islands, a Danish archipelago located hundreds of miles off the Scottish coast between Norway and Iceland.
In 2017, it was reported that Australia planned to kill more than a million kangaroos to protect endangered grasslands and wildlife.
This article is NOT a means to fight fire with fire. We at YourBotswana respect other countries to operate whatever measures they see fit with regards to wildlife, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with the measures taken. We don’t expect the world to be happy or content with the decision to lift the hunting ban, but we do respectfully request the same courtesy afforded other nations.
Please respect a difficult decision had to made, which was a ‘no win’ situation.
No one in Botswana wants the elephants to die. After months of consideration and reviewing all the options, the Botswana Government has taken the decision to lift the hunting ban to save livelihoods and lives. What country wouldn’t or hasn’t taken similar decisions in order to save lives?
Sources: telegraph.co.uk / foreverinmyheartjewelry.com / dosomething.org / theguardian.com / express.co.uk / nationalgeographic.com / Burns Report via countryfile.com