Banner Image – Outrage over ‘unethical’ Botswana elephant hunt, Don Pinnock, Daily Maverick, 11 December 2019
Botswana has recently (2018) reinstated elephant trophy hunting (after a 2014 moratorium). However, this is considered a mistake by leading experts that will not help reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Let’s look at the reasons elephants have expanded their ranges in Botswana (and increasing human wildlife conflict resulting) with Dr Mike Chase, Elephants Without Borders (EWB):
- “Density dependent dispersal – search for food;
- Failure of the Kavango-Zambezi TFCA. Poaching and habitat constriction in southern Angola, Zambia and along Botswana’s borders have restricted elephants to remain in the safety of Botswana;
- Water availability in the form of artificial water and recent flooding events in previously dry rivers have enticed elephant to move further south; and
- Vet fences are effective barriers to elephant movements, but many of them have not been maintained and long stretches are broken giving elephants access to new areas.”
“In all likelihood, the reintroduction of trophy hunting will have no impact on any of these factors as they are unrelated to the ban on trophy hunting in 2014” – Chase, M., 2018 – “Arguments for lifting the ban are unsound“
The lack of any positive consequences for reducing human-wildlife conflict have recently been proven, with unethical hunting practices clearly evident in Ngamiland, where five local elephants have been hunted – detrimental to elephant conservation with dominant bull elephants removed, thus opening up local herds to delinquent behaviour and a reduced gene pool. Local Ngamiland communities were not informed of the hunting, do not benefit and are against the hunting in their area, which they say is likely to increase the potential of human wildlife conflict as the local elephant herds are negatively disrupted and angered by humans hunting with guns, thus endangering the local community that have previously co-existed with the elephants.
There are similarities to the execution of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, July 2015 (a WildCRU collared lion lured from the protection of Hwange National Park to be killed for a trophy), with a collared animal contributing to research, science and potential conservation benefits, unethically targeted for a trophy – and attempts made by the hunting party, post-kill to hide/destroy the slain animal’s research collar:
“The hunting industry sold the world a dummy when they used the term ”sustainable use’ to suit their own means. It’s nothing more than UNSUSTAINABLE ABUSE.
According to a ‘crocodile tears’ statement [given below] released by the Botswana Wildlife Producers’ Association, the two hunters who killed a collared elephant in Botswana & attempted to destroyed the evidence, have surrendered their licences.
It is our own opinion that African conservation authorities and hunting organisations need to take bold steps to ensure these two cold-blooded killers are banned from ever conducting any future hunts on African soil.
Compensation costs of replacement and fitting a tracking device is by no means near harsh enough punishment for their sins!!!” – “Echoes of Cecil” by Simon Bloch (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)
Post-kill, such words from the BWPA and its ilk are fairly meaningless – ‘well-regulated’ trophy hunting and adherence to any “Code of Ethical Conduct” remains an elusive and whimsical paper veil of deceit it would seem, when the trophy hunter’s finger is on the trigger and there is profit to be made from a targeted animal’s demise…….
“Botswana lifts ban on elephant hunting,” National Geographic, 22 May 2019
“Botswana condemned for lifting ban on hunting elephants,” The Guardian, 23 May 2019
“Trophy hunting of Elephants in Botswana has no place in conservation,” Ross Harvey, Daily Maverick (Conservation Action Trust), 19 November 2019
“The Problem With Problem Elephants,” Jared Kukura, Wild Things Initiative, 9 December 2019
“Bad Shot – Outrage over ‘unethical’ Botswana elephant hunt,” Don Pinnock, Daily Maverick, 11 December 2019
“Outrage over ‘unethical’ Botswana elephant hunt,” Journal of African Elephants, 11 December 2019
“Botswana cancels hunters’ licences for killing elephant, ” BBC News, 15 December 2019
“Professional hunters shoot research elephant dead and destroy collar to cover up killing,” The Independent, 15 December 2019