Botswana President Welcomes Duke of Cambridge Recognition of Hunting as Conservation

British royalty is lending its voice to the choir singing the praises of trophy hunting as a conservation solution in Africa where anti-hunting eco-imperialists have dismissed the knowledge and ability of Africans to manage wildlife in their countries.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi met privately with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, last week during an international conference on illegal trafficking in wildlife.

One topic of discussion during the private meeting was the problem of Botswana having too many elephants. Current research estimates that one third of the elephants on the continent of Africa reside in Botswana – more than 200,000.

elephants at waterholeFollowing the meeting, President Masisi said the Duke of Cambridge indicated that he accepted there could be a conservation case for hunting in Botswana because it could help conserve threatened species, according to a report in The Times.

The call to reestablish hunting in Botswana is being sounded across the continent of Africa. At a recent meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Committee held in Northern Virginia, representatives of several African countries made the case for lifting the hunting bans imposed on their communities.

One speaker was Joseph Mbaiwa, Professor, Tourism Studies, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, who spoke about the consequences of Botswana’s ban on hunting instituted in 2014.

Mbaiwa authored a 2017 study entitled “Effects of the safari hunting tourism ban on rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation in Northern Botswana.”

In the study, Mbaiwa states that the hunting ban was devastating to the local communities on several levels and that, “the hunting ban is reportedly contributing to increasing incidents of poaching in Northern Botswana.”

elephant damage
Hut damaged by elephants. Damage to crops and property are a daily concern for rural African villages.

Mbaiwa explains the situation in more detail during an exclusive interview with SCI’s Marc Watts.

President Masisi addressed the same concerns regarding the overpopulation of elephants in Botswana.

“We do not want to come across as loving to kill animals,” he said. “We are loving to protect our people. We are loving our property. We are just being rational in the same way any Brit would if you had 100,000 elephants marauding over the UK. If you want to test it out we can give you only 500. I bet you’d be screaming,” he told The Times.

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