Tshekedi Khama, Botswana’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, says his country is under unprecedented pressure from the pro-hunting lobby in the European Union and regional neighbours to lift the hunting ban imposed in 2014.
The policy of Botswana against wildlife hunting is working, that is why wildlife is relocating from neighbouring countries to Botswana. In Botswana, ecotourism—which includes wildlife safaris—is the second largest foreign exchange earner, which means the country is reaping the rewards of successful conservation. But now the pro-hunters want to follow the wildlife to Botswana where wildlife is abundant and in the neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia wildlife is scarce due to overhunting and poaching
Therefore we urge the European Union to support Botswana in its decision to ban trophy hunting.
We also urge the European Union to pressure and support Zambia and Zimbabwe to fulfill their obligations in the development of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Park (KAZA), which is a regional initiative meant to promote the free cross-border movement and conservation of wildlife. Minister Khama attributes the influx of elephants from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Angola to a failure by those countries to provide basic water and security infrastructure for the animals.
To avoid ivory poachers and trophy hunters in neighboring Namibia, Zambia and Angola, elephants are fleeing in astounding numbers to Chobe, where illegal hunting is mostly kept in check. About 130,000 elephants live in Botswana, the most in any country.
But while Botswana offers protection as a safe haven, the increasingly dry ecosystem is buckling under the pressure of supporting so many elephants, which each eat 600 pounds of food daily. it’s not the most welcoming stronghold.
Zambia and Zimbabwe fail to pay their subscriptions and putting up requisite infrastructure for essential services, such as water, in the KAZA. That results in many elephants crossing into Botswana because Botswana has those provisions. Botswana's neighbours need to drill boreholes and provide water to stop their animals from coming to Botswana.