Update privacy choices
Finance

Botswana Starts National Debate to End Ban on Elephant Hunting

Mbongeni Mguni
Bloomberg

Botswana Starts National Debate to End Elephant Hunting Ban

An elephant Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

Botswana will hold a month of public hearings to decide whether it should lift a ban on elephant hunting as farmers in the nation that has the world’s largest population of the African variety of the world’s biggest land mammals complain the animals are damaging their crops.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi will meet with wildlife researchers in the northwestern town of Maun on Wednesday to mark the start of the consultations, according to an emailed government statement. The report from the hearings will be submitted to cabinet next month.

More from Bloomberg.com: Stormy Daniels Says Trump’s Threats Are Based on a ‘Giant Lie’

Lawmakers in June asked the government to review the ban, which was introduced by Masisi’s predecessor in 2014. Critics of the ban say elephant populations have grown rapidly and others have come from neighboring countries to seek refuge from poachers, prompting an increase in human deaths and declining incomes in farming communities.

There are at least 130,000 elephants in the sparsely populated southern African nation, or roughly 1 per 18 citizens.

Maun is a main tourist hub, with as many as 1.9 million travelers forecast to visit the nearby Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary this year. Last week, the advocacy group Elephants Without Borders said it had uncovered a massacre of 87 elephants near the delta. The government disputes the group’s claims, with Masisi saying the report was exaggerated to thwart the review of the hunting ban.

More from Bloomberg.com: Trump Adviser Says President’s GDP Tweet Had an Extra Zero

Tourism is Botswana second-biggest source of foreign exchange after diamonds.

More from Bloomberg.com

Read Botswana Starts National Debate to End Ban on Elephant Hunting on bloombergpolitics.com

Reactions

What to read next