Friday, 7 December 2012

Botswana to ban hunting over wildlife species decline

About a third of the world's elephant population lives in Botswana
Botswana will ban commercial hunting from January 2014 over growing concerns about the sharp decline in wildlife species, officials have announced.

"The shooting of wild game for sport and trophies is no longer compatible with our commitment to preserve local fauna," the environment ministry said.

The ban is likely to be controversial as many communities depend on hunting for their livelihoods.

As much as a third of the global elephant population lives in Botswana.

Recent estimates place the number at about 130,000.

Conservationists are concerned about the erosion of river banks caused by the animals in some nature parks, the BBC's Letlhogile Lucas in the capital, Gaborone, reports.

The ban, set to come into place on 1 January, could also pose a threat to local communities, in particular bushmen, for whom hunting is a means to survive, our correspondent adds.

Average trophy fee per species
Elephant: Up to $30,000, depending on weight
Lion: $29,000
Leopard: $7,150
Buffalo: $3,744
Giraffe: $3,500
Zebra: $1,923
Source: Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations

Furthermore, selling hunting licences to wealthy Westerners is an extremely lucrative business, he says.

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