Botswana has come up with an inhuman way of tackling its problem of elephant overpopulation, a cause of human-wildlife conflict in the region. After legalising the hunting of elephants last year and ending a five-year ban, Botswana will now auction licences to kill 70 of these magnificent creatures. By Kumar Shree
Seems like the world has lost its moral compass or have refused to use it. First, the news of Australia shooting thousands of camels, followed by this news of Botswana further suggests this! Even though Africa has observed a decline in its elephant population, some countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana continue to face overpopulation. While shifting these animals to lesser-polluted areas seems like an in-the-know solution, the government of Botswana has other plans. It will soon auction a licence to kill 70 of these magnificent beasts.
Local officials cite reasons like rising human-animal conflict, and damage of infrastructure and crop by these creatures to justify this move. They say it is necessary to keep a check on the damage inflicted by these creatures.
Alice Mmolawa, spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism told Reuters, “There are seven hunting packages of 10 elephants each available. The seven areas chosen are those most impacted by human-wildlife conflict, especially involving elephants.” Tiro Segosebe, a resident of Maun village, one of the most affected areas, added, “Elephants have killed a lot of people and destroyed livelihoods. I think the government is doing the right thing in reducing their numbers.”
While Botswana is going for an inhuman option, Zimbabwe tackled the same issue in an exemplary manner. They sold their elephants to China and Dubai. The option of buying these animals was up for any country willing to buy and cover the cost of transportation. The step taken by Botswana government is attracting huge criticism from across the globe. People are suggesting the government explores other options, especially those that do not involve bloodshed.