Born Free is extremely concerned by today’s news that Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has lifted its ban on elephant hunting, putting the lives of some of the country’s estimated 127,000 elephants at risk.
A hunting ban has been in place in Botswana since 2014, but the government said this had been suspended following extensive consultation with local authorities, affected communities, NGOs, tourism businesses, conservationists and researchers.
Will Travers OBE, Born Free’s President and Co-Founder, said: “We should never lose sight of the fact that trophy hunting is not just a debate about conservation practice, economics, employment, or even land management. It is an ethical issue involving the killing of wild animals for fun. Trophy hunting is not welfare friendly, it targets specific animals according to their perceived value as trophies, ignoring their contribution as members of their communities. As such, it does not benefit conservation, and its contribution to local economies and local communities is negligible. Born Free believes we need to find smarter, more compassionate alternative ways of supporting human-wildlife co-existence.”
Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy and a veterinarian, added: “In a world where nature and wildlife are in serious decline, Botswana is a country where wildlife and wild places continue to thrive. Botswana has the opportunity to be a haven for wildlife and a shining example of how people and wildlife can co-exist.
Photo credit: George Logan
"By doing so it would be in a strong position to attract substantial income from ethical and sustainable ecotourism, which has the potential to generate many times the income that can be derived from commercial trophy hunting. Lifting the ban could very well undermine this potential through the significant negative international publicity and the damage to ‘brand Botswana’ it is likely to generate,” he added.
Born Free is opposed to the killing of any animal for sport or pleasure, and strongly refutes claims by trophy hunting proponents that their activities support conservation or local communities. We promote and practice Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats, while respecting the needs and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals.