When Botswana decided to lift its elephant hunting ban, it did not take into consideration that the impact would be severely felt across Africa, and even the world. Botswana has long been a refuge for elephants on a continent where thousands have been butchered for their tusks. Botswana is home to some 130,000 elephants, about a third of Africa’s remaining savanna elephants. The legalisation of hunting will now catapult this killing spree and put the continent’s lucrative tourism trade at risk.
On Twitter, CEO of WildlifeDirect, Paula Kahumbu, said: “Expect mass culling next.”
Before this sickening decision, Botswana was seen as a conservation success story, with the largest elephant population in Africa. Now, it will become a playground for torture - while humans cheer on.
Don Pinnock, a conservation journalist at the New York Times and author of ‘The Last Elephants’ said that in Africa, “elephants are being killed by poachers on average every fifteen minutes.”
“Botswana was the last refuge for these elephants, and suddenly that refuge is going to start hunting them. This is a tragedy,” said Pinnock.
He said the Botswana’s decision meant that elephants had become “collateral damage” in the build-up to its election.
“The party is losing votes rapidly and wants to increase its votes in the rural areas by allowing the hunting of elephants,” he stated.
This upcoming hunting madness in Botswana will tear thousands of elephant families apart and result in countless infants being orphaned or injured. When hunting takes place, swift deaths are never the case, and elephants suffer long and painful deaths. These gentle giants are known to be sociable animals that form tight family groups. They are capable of expressing happiness and grief. One can only imagine the trauma they face when they lose a family member to a cruel, and confusing, death. In addition to this, the fearful noise of gun shots causes them tremendous stress.
David Barritt, chief campaigner for animal welfare organisation, Network for Animals said: “This decision is cruel, mindless and politically driven.”