The Botswana government will not consider reducing the number of elephant, which are accused of damaging crops as humans and animal conflict continues.
While the farmers argue the elephants destroy their fields leaving them with nothing, government is steadfast on the protection of the animals under the tourism sector,the country’s main income earner after diamonds.
“Government does not yet consider it an opportune time to reduce the elephant population in Botswana. Although the elephant population in the country is currently either stable or increasing the global population is believed to be declining owing to unprecedented levels of poaching and illegal ivory trade,” said Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Eric Molale on Fridayon behalf of the minister responsible for tourism, Tshekedi Khama.
Molale was responding to Kgosi Letso Malema who was concerned with the destruction caused by elephants in his Bobirwa area and elsewhere in the country
“As a result this iconic species is considered vulnerable to extinction by the World Conservation Union,” he added.
With elephants not restricted to Botswana, moving extensively across the borders of neighbouring countries, Molale statedthat it was difficult to contain them as this was influenced by the availability of water among other things.
“As such any interventions to reduce numbers would require consultations with those neighbouring states. More importantly Botswana is party to a number of Multilateral Environmental Agricultures with an undertaking to protect elephants and reduce their numbers could be inconsistent with our global commitments,” Molale noted, citing the recent 17th Conference of Parties for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
“Indications were generally in favour of increased protectionfor this globally threatened species,” the Minister concluded, referring to the just ended CITES meeting in South Africa.