Last Updated on February 10, 2020

Botswana auctions 6 licenses to Kill 60 Elephants

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Botswana, home to the world’s largest elephant population, has held its first major auction for trophy elephant hunting quotas since scrapping a hunting ban last year. 

Six licences to hunt a total of 60 elephants were auctioned on Friday. The license to hunt is the first since President Mokgweetsi Masisi revoked a five-year moratorium in May. 

The one-hour sale was conducted by a local firm, Auction It Botswana, from the premises of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism in the capital Gaborone.

A total of seven hunting packages, of 10 elephants each, was made available for the auction. Only one (package) was not sold as no bidders met the reserve price of 2 million pula ($181,000). The six (packages) were sold for a total price of 25.7 million pula ($2.3m).

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost one-third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s.

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Officials in Botswana say hunting is necessary to ease the conflict between animals and humans, especially farmers who have seen their crops and infrastructure destroyed by elephants roaming outside their feeding zones.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision to lift the hunting ban last year was highly praised by local communities but scorned by conservationists.

A resident of Gaborone, Tiro Segosebe said the Elephants have killed a lot of people and destroyed livelihoods. Tiro thinks the government is doing the right thing in reducing their numbers. Tiro’s home village of Maun is one of the areas most affected by the human-wildlife conflict.

The 2020 hunting season is set to begin in April. The hunting would however be controlled and confined to areas most impacted by human-wildlife conflict.

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