Why Botswana’s president is threatening to send 20,000 elephants to Germany

Francis Akhalbey April 05, 2024
Botswana has one of the world’s largest elephant populations -- Photo Credit: Roger Brown

A conservation row has resulted in the president of Botswana threatening to send Germany 20,000 elephants. According to BBC, President Mokgweetsi Masisi made the threat in response to Germany’s environment ministry proposing a harsher import cap on trophies from hunting animals. 

The Humane Society International in a 2021 report stated that Germany ranks first in the EU regarding the importation of African elephants and hunting trophies. The European nation is said to have made the aforementioned proposal earlier this year.

But Masisi in an interview with German news outlet, Bild, said enforcing a harsher limit would negatively impact the living standards of his compatriots in Botswana. Masisi also explained that hunting has played a crucial role in controlling elephant numbers as their population has significantly increased because of conservation efforts. 

Masisi said Germans should “live together with the animals, in the way you are trying to tell us to.” “This is no joke,” he added.

Numbering more than 130,000, Botswana has one of the world’s largest elephant populations. But the southern African country has been struggling to accommodate their large number. Masisi said herds have destroyed properties, eaten crops, and also trampled locals, BBC reported.

The country has also previously implemented measures to control the mammals’ population. Neighboring country Angola has received 8,000 elephants from Botswana while Mozambique has also been offered some. 

“We would like to offer such a gift to Germany,” Masisi said. He also said he wouldn’t take no for an answer. 

Masisi’s statement comes after the southern African nation’s Wildlife Minister Dumezweni Mthimkhulu made a similar threat to the UK in March – this time to send 10,000 elephants to Hyde Park in London. Mthimkhulu said this would enable the people of Britain to “have a taste of living alongside” the mammals.

UK lawmakers in March backed a proposal to prohibit the importation of hunting trophies, per BBC. But southern African countries including Botswana generate significant revenue from trophy hunting as they charge rich Westerners huge sums of money to legally partake in the so-called sport. 

Authorities also said the revenue raised from trophy hunting is invested in conservation efforts and channeled toward supporting locals. They said it limits poaching.

“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,” Mthimkhulu said.

But animal rights groups have called for a ban on trophy hunting as they deem it cruel. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 5, 2024


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