Operators & Travel Agents around the world have dropped their heads with disappointment after Botswana’s government reversed a ban on elephant hunting.

Botswana’s leaders announced last week legalised elephant hunting, five years after the blood sport was banned country-wide (excluding registered game ranches) by former President Ian Khama.

Khama’s ban was issued in 2014 when data showed a drastic decline in the large mammal’s population, mostly due to hunting.

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Image: Joaquín Rivero/Unsplash

Since elephant rates have risen, so-much-so that new leaders believe that they’re affecting the livelihood of Botswana’s people by harming livestock, NPR.org reported.

As a result of this conflict with humans, the country’s new President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, decided to reverse the ban on hunting, although regular culling of elephants and meat canning is still forbidden.

“A more sustainable method such as selective cropping should be employed.”

Botswana Government

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Image: Wynand Uys/Unsplash

Unsurprisingly, the decision received a strong response from travel operators invested in the southern country, including Bench Africa, which said it can’t imagine the desire to hunt and kill such incredible animals.

Bench stressed the importance of utilising internal operators not linked to hunting or anything that exploits animals in any form.

“The reason Botswana has such a large population of elephants today is because of previous environmental and conservation policies that enabled African animals to live in relative peace,” Bench Africa said in a statement. “Whilst arguably holding land to create a larger ecosystem for the animals to live in, the role of hunting in a sustainable environment is a contentious one, even amongst conservationists.”

“We have always used our business and reputation to send a message, directing clients to camps, locations and brands that have bona fide credentials in conservation and are the ones in Botswana currently raising their powerful voices and lobbying the government for change.”

Bench Africa

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Image: Wynand Uys/Unsplash

G Adventures, who also runs regular tours through the country, concurred saying that it does not support the act of elephant hunting and urged the government to reconsider its decision.

Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, Adrian Piotto, said that the brand will continue operating in Botswana as it’s the local communities that will suffer from a boycotting.

“It is our hope that by continuing to provide and support responsible wildlife tourism experiences in a way that respect the animals freedom, the government will realise that these far outweigh trophy hunting.”

Adrian Piotto, G Adventures Managing Director Australia & New Zealand

Jamie Sweeting, the President of Planeterra and Vice President of Social Enterprise and Sustainability at G Adventures, signed a coalition letter from operators and businesses around the world, that urged President Masisi to maintain prohibitions against trophy hunting of elephants, lions, and other animals in Botswana. Click here for more information and to add your signature.

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Image: Matt Artz/Unsplash

Luxury operator A&K stands by its belief of ‘shoot with a camera, not with a gun’ and said it will stand by its commitment to promoting sustainability wherever it travels.

Our guests travel to Botswana to connect with, and celebrate, its abundant wildlife, diverse landscapes and thrilling experiences.”

Sujata Raman, A&K Regional Managing Director, Australia/Asia Pacific

“As one of our most popular destinations, A&K will continue to do everything we can to promote sustainable tourism to this country.”

 

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