Botswana has legalized elephant hunting and is asking the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to allow it to export tusks from dead elephants to the world, in spite of an international ban on the trade.
In a recent aerial wildlife survey, conducted by Elephants Without Borders (EWB), an increased number of fresh elephant carcasses in the north of Botswana, presumed to be victims of poaching, was shown.
During the 20th century, there was an estimated three to five million African elephants but today, there are only 400,000 left, and Botswana is home to about a third of them. Every day this number drops by 100 or more.
David Barritt, chief campaigner for animal welfare organization, Network for Animals (NFA), said the developments in Botswana showed how its leaders truly felt about wildlife.
“They care nothing for elephants, viewing them as little more than a nuisance. Such is their contempt for world opinion and the safety of elephants, that it recently presented stools, made from elephant feet, to three African leaders during a meeting,” said Barritt.
“Their decision makes NFA’s work to save elephants even more important. We plan to relocate as many elephant families as we can, to wilderness areas, thousands of miles from poaching routes. We are also helping protect them by financing anti-poaching patrols.”
“We work in an area called Addo Elephant National Park, in South Africa, and it is really the best hope for the world’s elephants. It is nearly 800 miles from Botswana, and 1,000 miles from the poaching hotspot of Mozambique. It is really the best hope for the world’s elephants,” said Barritt.
“We will do everything we can to persuade the Botswana government to reverse its sickening policies towards elephants, but we have little faith in the present government. What animal lovers need to do is help elephants in practical ways, and that’s why we so urgently need people to donate today.”