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  5. Botswana offers to send 20,000 elephants to Germany, saying it should try looking after them instead of criticizing

Botswana offers to send 20,000 elephants to Germany, saying it should try looking after them instead of criticizing

Mikhaila Friel   

Botswana offers to send 20,000 elephants to Germany, saying it should try looking after them instead of criticizing
  • Botswana's President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, threatened to send 20,000 elephants to Germany.
  • It came after Germany suggested there should be limits on importing hunting trophies.

Botswana's president Mokgweetsi Masisi said he wants to send 20,000 wild elephants to Germany to challenge the country's stance on hunting.

His comments came after Germany's environment ministry suggested there should be limits on hunting trophy imports due to poaching concerns, The Guardian reported.

Speaking to the German outlet Bild, Masisi, 61, said it's unfair to criticize Botswana's hunting practices without looking at the impact that overpopulation of elephants has on the country.

Germans should "live together with the animals, in the way you are trying to tell us to," he said. "It's not a joke."

"It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion about our affairs in Botswana. We are paying the price for preserving these animals for the world – and even for Lemke's party," he added, referencing Germany's environment minister Steffi Lemke, leader of The Greens political party.

Botswana has more than 130,000 elephants, with an increase of 6,000 each year, according to Bild. The country made trophy hunting illegal in 2014; however, the ban was lifted in 2019 due to pressure from the public, The Guardian reported.

Massisi told the outlet that hunting is a means of controlling the elephant population, which has appeared to increase in recent years.

He added that the elephants often have a negative impact on the country's citizens: They can trample people to death and destroy crops and villages, he said.

Svenja Kleinschmidt, a spokesperson for Germany's federal environment ministry, told Business Insider that "Botswana has not yet contacted" the ministry about the matter.

However, Kleinschmidt noted that Botswana's environment minister met with the German environment minister last week for an "open and constructive exchange of views." The topics discussed were not disclosed.

"Germany is one of the largest importers of hunting trophies into the EU. For that reason and in the face of alarming loss of biodiversity, we have a special responsibility to ensure the legality and sustainability of the imports of hunting trophies of protected species into Germany," Kleinschmidt said.

Kleinschmidt said discussions are currently underway to extend the compulsory import permit under the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation to cover hunting trophies of additional protected species.

Botswana's elephant population and the ethical issues of hunting have been a subject of debate for years.

Elephants are considered one of the deadliest species to humans because of their size and weight. As the largest existing land animals, elephants are responsible for around 500 human deaths per year, according to BBC Wildlife Magazine.

There's also the economic impact of hunting to consider. In 2021, Botswana officials said the country earned around $2.7 million from elephant hunting, VOA reported.

Elephants Without Borders is a Botswana-based conservation organization that has been publicly backed by Prince Harry and Meghan. It wrote on its website that recent conservation efforts have led to "growing concern about how to manage this large population."

But offering to give the elephants away doesn't appear to be an effective solution. Botswana has already attempted to give 8,000 elephants to Angola and 500 to Mozambique.

Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, Botswana's wildlife minister, said in March that he wanted to send 10,000 elephants to London's Hyde Park after the UK proposed a ban on hunting trophies, Metro reported.

"I want Britons to have a taste of living alongside elephants, which are overwhelming my country. In some areas, there are more of these beasts than people," he said.

"They are killing children who get in their path. They trample and eat farmers' crops leaving Africans hungry. They steal the water from pipes that is flowing to the people. They have lost their fear of humans," he added.

Speaking to Sky News in March, Masisi said the UK ban would be "condescending" and "a resurgence of colonial conquest."

Representatives for Botswana's Government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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