Botswana mulls canning elephant for meat

Gaborone: After months of public meetings and consultations, the report by ministers also recommends the “establishment of elephant meat canning” for pet food. The number of elephants in Bots­wa­na is estimated to be about 130,000, which some argue is too many for the ecosystem — there is an increasing conflict between wildlife and people.

But others say the country’s tourism has grown dramatically since the ban came into place and lifting it wou­ld affect the country’s international reputation for conservation, , the BBC reports. Shortly after coming into office in April 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi asked ministers to review the hunting ban which was implemented by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014.

Public meetings were held and organisations, communities and individuals were asked to comment. The report’s findings recommend —the hunting ban should be lifted, the elephant population should be managed “within its historic range”, wildlife migratory routes “not beneficial to the country’s conservation efforts” should be closed game ranches be demarcated to “serve as buffers between communal and wildlife areas” and “regular but limited elephant culling” should be introduced.

President Masisi welco­m­ed the report, which will go through further consultation before being implemented. “I can promise you and the nation we will consider it. A white paper will follow and it will be shared with the public,” he said. “If needs be, we will give an opportunity to parliament to also interrogate it, and allow them the space to intervene before we make a final determination.”

Why is there increasing human-elephant conflict? Surveys have shown the elephant “range” — how far the elephants travel — has been expanding. The director of Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Otisitwe Tiroyamodimo, said there were many factors involved, including climate change.

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