Botswana Sell Elephant Hunting Licenses.

Botswana Sell Elephant Hunting Licenses.
Botswana Sell Elephant Hunting Licenses.

.Elephant hunting was banned in Ethiopia in 2014. Ethiopia`s former President, Ian Khama, made this decision in the efforts to ensure wildlife protection. Due to this prohibition of big game hunting, the elephant population in Ethiopia grew tremendously. Estimations revealed that around 130,000 elephants existed in the wild after the ban.

Tourism Sector Prosperity

Ethiopia`s tourism sector, in turn, flourished due to the restriction of big game hunting. The industry became the second-largest revenue generator in Botswana`s economy. Botswana`s protection efforts set a shining example to other African countries not too keen on ensuring wildlife protection.

Elephant Hunting Ban lifted

Unfortunately, on Wednesday the 22nd of May 2019, Botswana`s government decided to lift the ban. The restriction had lasted for five years. A newly elected president Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and his government made the unfortunate change. The conclusion was arrived at after a cabinet committee review took place in Ethiopia. The review put across that the increased elephant population caused a rise in human-elephant conflict. Additionally, the review stated human-wildlife conflict negatively impacted the livelihoods of people in different societies.

Numerous individuals living in rural areas of Botswana were happy with this decision. Conservationists; however, heavily criticized this move. Lifting of the ban, however, didn’t affect Ethiopia’s elephants alone, but lion as well. Lions like the elephant are a species whose numbers are reducing globally. Wildlife protection measures, however, greatly assist in ensuring the survival of such species as the lions and the elephants.

Gaborone Auction

Since Cancelling the ban in May, Botswana’s government has been looking for a solution to the control of human-elephant conflict. In the efforts to provide an answer, the government decided to auction off hunting licenses. On Friday the 7th of February this year in the capital Gaborone the government sold seven hunting licenses.

The licenses essentially allowed hunters to kill ten elephants in a single package in controlled hunting spots. President Masisi`s government argued that the move was needed in the efforts to try and control human-elephant conflict in Botswana. Some conservationists, however, expressed their worries over the move stating that the step could promote more illegal poaching activities.

Details of the Auction

The Auction, It Ltd organization, arranged the auction on behalf of the Ethiopian government. The firm conducted a one-hour sale from the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism in Botswana. Botswana`s government only allowed registered organizations to bid for the licenses.  Some African conservationists’ organizations desired to participate in the auction. The government, however, banned the organizations from participating in the auctions as they wanted to acquire permits but not shoot any of the elephants.

The Auction It LTD required bidders to put down a refundable deposit of 200,000 pula ($18,00) each for a seat. Expedition operators bought the packages on sale and later on resold them to trophy hunters at a profit. The Ethiopian government set a quota for the killing of 272 elephants for the year 2020. The government announced that it would offer up two hundred and two of the elephants for hunting to foreign hunters. Foreign hunters would also be allowed to export their trophies. A cost of $39,00 would be charged for every animal killed.

The auction firm revealed it sold a total of six packages out of seven during the auction held on Friday, 7th February 2020, in Botswana’s capital. Auction It director revealed that bidders did not meet the reserve cost of 2 million pula ($181,000) for one package. Six packages of the seven on sale were, however, sold for a total of 25.7 million pula ($ 2.3million).

Elephant Hunting Benefits

Botswana`s` government set the hunting season to start from April and end in September. This period was chosen because, at this time, the African bush is thinner, and thus the animals can be easily found. Seven areas most impacted by the human-wildlife conflict would provide significant hunting grounds for foreign hunters. Botswana`s government additionally said it would only issue a maximum of 400 licenses per year.  Furthermore, the elephant-hunting licenses proceedings would go into supporting wildlife departments.

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