Botswana’s Ultimatum: 20,000 Elephants May Be Sent to Germany

Botswana's Ultimatum: 20,000 Elephants May Be Sent to Germany

Botswana’s Ultimatum: 20,000 Elephants May Be Sent to Germany

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has issued a bold threat to send 20,000 elephants to Germany amid a dispute over conservation practices. This confrontation arose following Germany’s environment ministry’s suggestion earlier this year for stricter limits on importing trophies from hunting animals.

President Masisi strongly opposes this suggestion, arguing that it would only harm the people of Botswana. He emphasized that the elephant population in Botswana has surged due to successful conservation efforts and that controlled hunting helps maintain their numbers.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, President Masisi urged Germans to coexist with animals, highlighting the seriousness of the matter by stating, “This is no joke.”

Botswana is home to approximately a third of the world’s elephant population, exceeding 130,000, which surpasses the country’s carrying capacity. The burgeoning elephant herds have caused significant damage to property, including crops, and pose risks to residents.

To manage the elephant population, Botswana has previously gifted thousands of elephants to neighboring countries, such as Angola and Mozambique. President Masisi now extends this offer to Germany, insisting that he will not accept rejection.

The president’s threat follows similar confrontational statements made by Botswana’s Wildlife Minister Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, who previously suggested sending 10,000 elephants to London’s Hyde Park.

The debate over hunting trophies has drawn attention globally, particularly as UK MPs voted in favor of supporting a ban on importing such trophies. However, the legislation has yet to undergo further scrutiny before becoming law.

Botswana, like other southern African countries, relies on revenue generated from hunting permits, which are purchased by wealthy Westerners. The funds are purportedly directed towards conservation efforts and local communities to discourage poaching.

While Botswana banned hunting in 2014, the restrictions were lifted in 2019 amid pressure from local communities. The country now imposes annual hunting quotas under strict regulation.

Despite Botswana’s stance, Germany’s environment ministry remains engaged in discussions with affected African countries, including Botswana, regarding import rules. Meanwhile, countries like Australia, France, and Belgium have already implemented bans on the trade in hunting trophies.

The debate over conservation practices, hunting, and the trade in elephant trophies underscores the complexities of wildlife management and the divergent viewpoints held by various stakeholders, including governments, conservationists, and animal rights groups.


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