Community-based conservation in Botswana was celebrated at the SCI Convention in Reno with His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi being awarded SCI’s International Legislator of the Year Award in recognition of his reopening of tourist hunting. Special guest Hon. Ambassador to the United States David Newman was present to receive the prestigious award.
“It’s important to address animal rights, yes, but one thing that’s been missing: human rights,” stated Ambassador Newman. “To achieve sustainable utilization of our natural resources is a win-win. We’re confident we can do it particularly with the partners we have here through SCI.”
Botswana’s sustainable use wildlife reform was instituted in 2019 only after an extensive consultation process with rural Batswana, giving a voice to the people severely impacted by human-elephant conflict who suffered over the 5-year hunting ban. President Masisi’s decision has of course come under fierce attack by the general public for its focus on elephant management.
Safari Club’s CEO and staff of the Governmental Affairs and Conservation teams hand-delivered the award this past week to the Botswana Embassy in Washington, DC. A meeting with Ambassador Newman was had to discuss future cooperation, including the 18th African Wildlife Consultative Forum that will be hosted by Botswana from 9-13 November 2020 in Kasane. This year’s AWCF will highlight their successful implementation of a new community benefit program and further solidify SCIF’s working relationship with Botswana.