Government, through the ministry of Wildlife and Tourism says it supports the call by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to close down ivory markets across the world. At the moment, Africa is the most affected continent by illegal trading.
According to the minister of Environment, Wildlife and tourism, Tshekedi Khama, Botswana condemns the trading of ivory and government’s shot-to-kill policy was a step in the right direction, adding that he was hopeful that the international community would throw their support behind them as well.
In clear cut terms, Khama said Botswana supports the ban of ivory trading and humbly supports the decision taken on the 10th September 2016 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to ban ivory trade. The ban comes after a study by IUCN which established that of the 352,271 savannah elephants, one is killed every 15 minutes for its tusks.
Khama revealed to the Telegraph that government welcomes the decision as they really do not know who the major buyers of ivory are. “As a country Botswana has never really benefited from the trade of ivory and do not know the buyers of the ivory, that’s why the government is against the trading of ivory,” said Khama.
This Past Friday, Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper, who also serves on the U.S. Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking was quoted saying, “The global conservation community is stepping up, no more domestic ivory sales. Elephants have had enough of the ivory trade and so has the world.”
According to the Scientific Report Paper at the start of the Congress, WCS issued a scientific paper, with lead author WCS’s Andrea Turkalo, showing that it will take almost a century for Africa’s forest elephants to recover from the intense poaching they have suffered since 2002.
In addition, The Great Elephants Census, funded by Microsoft founder Paul Allen, and undertaken by a team of scientists and conservationists, including WCS’s Dr. Paul Elkan, Falk Grossmann, and other WCS field staff, working in cooperation with government wildlife departments, also revealed that that savanna elephants have declined at a rate of 27,000 or 8 percent per year, with a total of 144,000 lost in less than a decade.
The survey also revealed that several populations particularly in West and Central Africa are at dangerously low levels risking local extinction.
The task team has also observed that some African countries including Botswana have taken a critical aspect of reinforcing site based anti-poaching and protected area management actions, while other African countries like Kenya have burnt their ivory stockpiles or confiscated their ivory.
The World Conservation Society also observed that although China has not taken the final step needed to shut down its domestic ivory market, they have committed to close their markets soon and inflicted the largest blow to the ivory criminals.
But Khama told The Telegraph that Botswana’s position is that China is on the right direction in assisting on anti-poaching. Early this year when receiving donations of over 17million Pula worth of anti-poaching equipment from Chinese Embassy, Khama said despite criticism from the international community on the “shoot to kill” policy, Botswana maintains its stance because it’s another sustainable way to save wildlife species targeted by criminal syndicates.