Botswana resumed its controversial trophy-hunting season on Tuesday after it was stopped last year because of the pandemic. The government has issued licences to kill 287 elephants.
In 2014, Botswana banned hunting elephants to reverse a decline in the populations, but it lifted the restriction in 2019. Most hunters come from Britain, Italy and the United States.
The season will run until late September, the director of the government’s department of wildlife and national parks, Kabelo Senyatso, told AFP.
Lifting the ban angered many conservationists. “Either you agree or disagree with the decision. It is a policy that was taken by the government after a consultative process, and a majority of our people supported it,” Senyatso said.
The pro-hunting lobby, the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA), was happy that the killing of wild animals started again. They say that hunters pay a lot of money to kill an animal and that local communities benefit from that.
Big groups of wild African savannah elephants combined with humans using more and more land where elephants live have increased human-elephant conflicts in Botswana. Having elephants killed is seen as a solution to stop these conflicts.
Last month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said that years of poaching and shrinking habitats have devastated elephant populations in Africa.
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