Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Elephants could be made into pet food in Botswana

A new report being considered by cabinet ministers recommends a reintroduction of elephant culling

The report was commissioned by Mokgweetsi Masisi. Susan Hack for The National
The report was commissioned by Mokgweetsi Masisi. Susan Hack for The National

Cabinet ministers in Botswana are considering a report which recommends reinstating hunting in the country, four years after it was banned.

After consulting communities which come into contact with elephants, as well as protection organisations and others, the committee commissioned by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in June last year concluded regular culling be introduced, the hunting ban lifted and the "establishment of elephant meat canning" for pet food.

“We recommend ... a legal framework that will enable the growth of a safari hunting industry and manage the country’s elephant population within the historic range,” said Frans Van Der Westhuizen, the committee chair and minister of environment.

The original ban was implemented by the last president, Ian Khama, in 2014 over fears wildlife was in decline in the north of the country. Tourism, particularly to see wildlife, makes up a large part of the Botswanan economy.

The country is home to a third of Africa's elephants with an estimated 130,000 roaming across its land. As their range grows, however, they are increasing coming into contact with the human population of Botswana, which stands at approximately 2 million.

Those coming into regular contact with the large animals say they are extremely destructive, trampling crops and, on occasion, killing people.

Updated: February 22, 2019 06:10 PM