Science

Botswana: opening of the 2021 elephant hunting season

The controversial 2021 elephant hunting season opened on Tuesday in Botwana, where the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the 2020 season, the director of the public body responsible for Wildlife told AFP on Tuesday. of National Parks, Kabelo Senyatso.

Authorities have issued permits to kill 287 of them by the end of the season in late September.

Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa, is home to around 130,000 elephants, the largest population of these animals in the world.

In 2019, Botswana lifted a total hunting ban, introduced five years earlier to reverse declining populations of elephants and other species. This lifting had aroused the anger of environmental defenders.

Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic and the ban on arrivals of travelers from high-risk countries such as Great Britain, Italy and the United States, where most hunters come from, had got the better of the hunting season.

The Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA), which brings together hunting professionals, welcomed the recovery, assuring that it would allow local communities to regain income.

“Since we opened this morning, we have had clients in the field, some from as far away as America,” his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Wealthy trophy hunters spend large sums of money to get permission to slaughter an animal, money that hunting supporters say then benefits local communities.

But some conservationists like Map Ives question how hunting quotas are set and whether they are based on scientific evidence about the elephant population and its sustainability.

“I understand that hunting can be useful as a tool for ‘wildlife’ management, but it should be based on science, yet unfortunately in Botswana we do not have the financial resources or the manpower to do so. work formed for research on the population of different species “of wild animals,” he explained.

Many of Botswana’s elephants move across the borders of neighboring Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The four countries have called for a lifting of the global ivory trade ban, due to growing elephant populations in some areas.

Decades of poaching and the destruction of their inhabitants have decimated African elephant populations, warned in March, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which classifies the savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) “endangered” and considers its smaller cousin, the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) to be “critically endangered”.

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