Khama Accuses Trump Of Encouraging Poaching

Ian Khama
KASANE: Outgoing Botswana President Ian Khama highly criticised the US President, Donald Trump’s administration at the Giants Club Summit held in Kasane over the weekend.

He blatantly condemned the shocking decision taken by the Trump administration to consider issuing permits to import certain elephant trophies from six African countries including Botswana.

He said Trump is undermining their efforts and also encouraging poaching because he is well aware of their law that prohibits trophy hunting in Botswana.

“On March 1, 2018 the Trump administration through the United States department of wildlife services and interior fish issued a memorandum stating that with immediate effect the US government would consider issuing permits,” he said.

Khama who has never been a fan of Trump from the onset highlighted that such permits will be issued on case by case basis and allows the import of tusks, skins and other parts of animals killed in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

He said the memorandum purports that the endangered species acts is no longer effective for assessing individual permit for application for import of sport hunted elephant trophies. “Under the new rules they will now review and evaluate each application received for import of such trophies to assess whether the importation of such species is likely to have net conservation benefits,” he said.

Khama also added his name to a global petition with close to 1.1 million signatures calling for the European Union (EU) to close its ivory trade. Three African presidents from Kenya,

Gabon and Uganda have joined 32 countries to sign the million-signature petition demanding EU ends its ivory trade.

The US media has already reported on Friday that a new US advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos, is stacked with trophy hunters.

Sixteen board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans (not) to shoot some of them. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr, caught the eye of animal rights activists after a 2011 photo emerged of him holding a bloody knife and the severed tail of an elephant he killed in Zimbabwe.

But during a press conference Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama called on the EU to end ivory trade. “It must come off the fence, we have to put it in their faces and say no. You can’t fund something and also support illegal trade.”

The younger Khama said the hypocrisy bothers him. “We should take responsibility in what we allow to happen,” he said.

The summit was held from March 15 to 17, 2018 and many countries participated in what is a global effort to ban ivory trade and poaching.




A kuna mathata

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