Too Many Elephants: Botswana wants to send 20,000 to Germany

Botswana is claiming it is being overrun by its elephants population which now numbers more than 100,000 and wants to send them to Germany in a dispute over trophy hunting. This story comes sourced reports from BBC, the London Standard and AOL newsfeeds;

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi is currently embroiled in spat with Germany’s environment ministry, which has called for a ban on the import of hunting trophies.
Botswana is home to around 130,000 elephants, more than a third of the world’s population.

Mr Masisi and other local officials complain that there are too many of the animals for the southern African country to cope with.

They have sent 8,000 to Angola and, on Tuesday, said they would send 20,000 to Germany.

Mr Masisi told the German tabloid BILD this was “no joke” as he believes a ban on trophy hunting would worsen poverty for his people.

He said: “It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion about our affairs in Botswana. We are paying the price for preserving these animals for the world.

“We want our elephants to roam freely. The German weather is bad enough for them. If you like them so much, then please accept this gift from us.”

Just a few weeks ago, Botswana’s wildlife minister Dumezweni Mthimkhulu made a similar threat to the UK, offering to send 10,000 elephants to Hyde Park in London.

He said: “I want Britons to have a taste of living alongside elephants, which are overwhelming my country. In some areas, there are more of these beasts than people.

“They are killing children who get in their path. They trample and eat farmers’ crops leaving Africans hungry. They steal the water from pipes that are flowing to the people. They have lost their fear of humans.

“Elephant numbers, just like those of Scottish stags, have to be controlled. Hunters in the Highlands pay to shoot deer and put their antlers on their walls. So why is Britain trying to stop Africa from doing the same?

“Botswana is the most successful country in the world at looking after elephants, buffalo, and lions. We don’t want colonial interference from Britain.”

Officials argue that trophy hunting revenue is a means of income for locals who make a living in tourism.

They also use the money for conservation projects, especially those which target poachers.

Animal rights organisation PETA challenged this, telling POLITICO: “The horrendous sums that amateur hunters spend on a hunting trip do not end up with the poor population or with a national park administration, but almost exclusively in the pockets of tour operators and hunting farm owners.”

They went on to urge Botswana to focus its efforts on making money with photo tourism.