PRESIDENT MASISI, TODAY THERE ARE NO EXCUSES TO APPLY INEFFECTIVE STRATEGIES AND MASSACRE ELEPHANTS IN BOTSWANA

WE URGE PRESIDENT MASISI TO PROTECT BOTSWANA`S ELEPHANTS FROM MASS KILLING STRATEGIES. ALSO, TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICIES, ACCORDING TO THE MOST MODERN THEORIES. WE ASK THE PRESIDENT TO TREND IN CONSERVATION AND LEAD WITH DIGNITY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND ECOLOGICALLY RICH PLACES ON EARTH.

While scientists across the globe are warning our society for having already entered the 6th mass extinction, since wildlife is dying at a rate comparable only to the era when dinosaurs went extinct 60 million years ago, we believe that Botswana is one of the last elephant paradises on earth and this heritage must be protected as a matter of priority and at all costs.

Instead, in order to address some voters` dissatisfaction, President Masisi is planning to reverse the country`s conservation strategies and to embrace one of the most destructive set of normative in decades, to aggressively reduce elephant population across all protected areas. The "Social Dialogue Report", the document to be approved, includes, among others:

  • The reintroduction and promoting of elephant hunting;
  • The applying of regular elephant culling, one of the most cruel and ineffective strategies of the past;
  • The closing of crucial wildlife migratory routes. This will have indiscriminate and tragic effects on all wildlife depending on corridors and water accessibility;
  • The processing of elephant meat into canned pet food.

The herd culling and the turning of global iconic symbols into dog food are sufficient reasons for a strong international condemnation.

We believe that Botswana`s elephants must be protected and the local people supported. Conservation has been becoming more and more an interdisciplinary science and the inclusion of the social dimension in conservation have been considered more and more relevant and finally, key. More than election propaganda President Masisi could seek for concrete and well-structured strategies in favour of social inclusion and development, all for Botswana`s and his electors` benefit.  

Many questions have been raised on this "Report" by the scientific community, by NGOs and by international wildlife and environmental advocates.

In particular, referring to Botswana`s rural conflict with elephants, it has been demanded more transparency on

  • how had President Masisi previously structured the mitigation process,
  • if were social scientists involved and
  • with which social interventions and practices.
  • If and how were elephants effectively counted and
  • on the base of which scientific criteria, as well as
  • how was the maximum capacity of the area of interest established. Most importantly,
  • if the elephants were really exceding the capacity and in case,
  • if scientific, effective and acceptable solutions, which are today available, were looked at.

 

Latest Elephants Without Borders "Dry Season Aerial Survey of Elephants and Wildlife in Northern Botswana" estimated the elephant population in Chobe to be 15,000 elephants in Chobe National Park and a total of 33,000 elephants in the whole Chobe District. This indicates a population decreasing trend from 26,600 elephants in 2010 to 15,000 in 2018. It also emerged that Chobe's bull elephant population is significantly decreasing due to the huge raise in poaching of bull elephants in the area, with 87 fresh carcasses counted in one month.

As soon as the results of the survey were published, the government denied such results and the permit to Elephants Without Borders for continuing the research, was revoked.

So, is it really necessary to control the elephant population of Botswana? And if it is, why adopting outdated and globally condemned strategies?

Until a few years ago, it was believed that contraception would have been an expensive procedure to manage population on a large scale and this strategy would have been suitable only for small and fenced areas; on the contrary experts on the field, as elephant contraception pioneer Delsink, with 20 years' experience in Africa, are now claiming that using contraception is not only more effective and ethically acceptable, but cheaper than culling and absolutely applicable on large scale.

In 2008 a culling project, including taking on site the recovery trucks, the crane trucks and the ground teams, was quoted 550 dollars per elephant in South Africa, while contraception was quoted 100 dollars only, including the darting, the vaccine and the helicopter time. The more elephants are treated, the more the costs are diluted. Contraception needs a yearly boost but also culling must be regularly repeated. If private land owners are happy to personally invest in contraception in South Africa, it`s because this technique works and it's economically valid. In large areas, elephants have a high fidelity of their home winter/summer ranges and their migratory corridors, so it is possible to assess their behaviours, map their ranges and dart them accordingly, even on very large scale. The larger is the number, the more efficient this method is.

TODAY, WITH THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE OF ELEPHANTS AND THEIR PHYSIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL COMPLEXITY, THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO IGNORE THE RECCOMMENDATION OF THE SCIENTIFIC INTERDISCIPLINARY COMMUNITY AND PROCEED WITH A MASSACRE.

WE URGE PRESIDENT MASISI TO PROTECT BOTSWANA`S ELEPHANTS FROM MASS KILLING STRATEGIES.  

SIGN THE PETITION

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To learn more about elephant culling and how it was done and about all the implications, including the processing into canned food, see the video of a culling operation in 1970 in the Kruger National Park:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jZ-k1KKXu0

 

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