DR Cyril Taolo, a Director at the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism says Botswana will seek permission to sell its piling stock of elephants tusks after the 10 years moratorium that the country has signed with CITES has expired.
“We last sold elephants tusks in 2008 and we hope to able to apply for permission to sell again after the 10 years moratorium expires. Our hope is that we will be allowed to sell again,” he said.
He however declined to state how many tusks Botswana currently has in stock. Asked to state the source of the tusks, Dr Taolo said they are mainly sourced from elephants that die because of natural.
“Some of them are also confiscated from poachers,” he said.
He added that Botswana has never embraced the option of burning the elephant tusks, which was adopted by some countries to demonstrate their disdain for poaching.
“Burning the tusks has never been an option for Botswana. We view it as a waste as tusks can be sold for good money that we need to care for other animals and for the development of the country in general”, he said.
He added that Botswana first has to consider its options before culling elephants. There have been calls for the country to cull elephants after numerous complaints by citizens that the elephants population has ballooned to an extent that they are currently encroached even into people’s farming lands.
“Culling is an option yes, but we first have to establish scientifically how many elephants we have before we can look at that option bearing in mind that elephants are migratory animals which tend to move from one country to another to seek refuge from poachers at times”.
“Right now our data does not indicate this important trend at all. All we have are stories of people sighting elephants in areas they have not seen them in many years. This on its own cannot make a case for culling elephants. Scientific proof is crucial before taking such a decision”, he stressed.
Asked about selling of rhinos horns, he said.”That is out of question we will not do that in the near future”. Botswana which is seen as a safe haven for wild animals because of its strong anti poaching regime which encompasses use of army in anti poaching activities recently received dozens of rhinos from South Africa where poachers are killing them on a daily basis.