Last year we shared with you the troubling news that Botswana had seemingly given up their role as protector of the world ́s largest population of African elephants. The country disarmed their anti-poaching force earlier this year. The force, considered an integral tool for stopping poachers, has been declawed, making Botswana's elephant population an easy target.
And now there is more proof than ever that Botswana made a disastrous choice. Recently, drone footage has gone viral showing exactly what happens when elephants are afforded little to no protection. One tragic image shows the body of a mutilated elephant strewn out in the Botswana grasslands. Its head had been chopped in half by poachers with chainsaws. The trunk and forehead lay feet away from the rest of its decaying body. Meanwhile, its prized ivory is long gone, likely headed to Asia.
Since last year, Botswana not only eliminated their special elephant protection squad but they have made several other concerning proposals that put elephants at risk including suggesting that elephant meat be used for dog food and supporting the withdrawal of the ivory ban.
The Southern African nation had long been considered one of the last bastions of safety for the imperiled African elephant. Its parks were regarded as top-notch, and their anti-poaching armed guards — who had a shoot on sight mandate — did a comparatively good job of protecting their nation's pachyderms.
But that has all changed, the country — now the 130,000 elephants are in serious danger. And if Botswana doesn't commit to their protection their population will dwindle as they have in so many other parts of Africa.
Botswana had a system that worked. It protected their elephant population and turned the country into one of the foremost destinations for African safaris. Now, after they have stripped their anti-poaching force of their weapons they need to implement another plan that will once again shield elephants and other wildlife from a poacher's gun.
Please sign the petition and demand Botswana take immediate action to end the spate of poaching in their country and implement a plan that will turn Botswana into the safe haven it once was.
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan