Masisi Blasts The West Over Hunting Ban


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has explosively rebuked western countries for their outcry over the culling of elephants in Botswana. This follows an outburst by westerners attacking Botswana and calling for its boycott over the lifting of the hunting ban.

Last week Cabinet Sub Committee on Hunting Ban Social Dialogue recommended the lifting of the hunting ban.  Former president Ian Khama instituted the ban on wildlife hunting in 2014 without consultation. However, three months after taking over as President, Masisi set up the committee in June 2018 to consult and engage the nation on the issue.

Officially opening the BDP South East Region congress on Saturday, Masisi said the hunting ban was just imposed without any consultation.

“We had to backtrack and consult about it. Where do they get the guts to tell us how we should take care of our wildlife when they do not have anything? I was in England with minister Unity Dow where I told them that their problem was they are talking elephant issues as if there are no people.  I said to them that we will give you 200 elephants in England and just let them roam all over (just) as you want them to in Botswana,” he said. Masisi said they are disrespectful and that there are some of our own helping them disrespect Batswana.

“They think we are stupid having our people terrorised by these animals in areas they are not even supposed to be. I still encourage them to come and get them and then maybe we can talk, as they would know what the animals are capable of. We can even add lions, buffalos, leopards and cheetahs. They should know we also have people who are farmers and want to keep their livestock and crops,” he said.

Major news organisations like BBC and CNN reported negatively about the issue depicting Botswana as being cruel and uncaring of the animals.

“Botswana, home to nearly 130,000 elephants, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for wildlife lovers who want a glimpse of the animals. But tension over the elephant population has grown; with some arguing they damage crops. Poaching in Botswana has reached ‘unprecedented’ levels, a study by the conservation charity Elephants Without Borders revealed in September. Botswana was once considered a safe haven for elephants,” reads an article from the BBC website.

The BBC further reported that almost 90 elephant carcasses were found during a survey in the north of the country, compared with nine during the previous audit of the region in 2014, it found. This is despite the government having rubbished the claim and having taken journalists including those from BBC on a fact-finding mission. The Telegraph (UK) quoted Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk, the Duke of Cambridge’s conservation charity, saying Botswana’s decision to review the hunting ban “a huge disappointment”.

“It flies in the face of international efforts, including their own leadership of the Elephant Protections Initiative, to protect so many other populations that have been decimated by poaching across Africa.

I am sure many people and visitors to Botswana will be horrified,” he said.

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