Pragmatic Alternatives to Trophy Hunting - Take the right PATH
Please sign this petition calling on Botswana to explore and adopt alternatives to trophy hunting and consumptive use of wildlife.
To the Governments of Botswana , all those who sign this petition urgently implore you to please consider long term solutions that will help to prevent human wildlife conflict, solve the causes of poaching and make Botswana the top tourist destination it deserves to be. Going down the trophy hunting / culling of wildlife path would be wrong on many levels and would be highly damaging to the tourism industry. Become examples for others to follow by taking a better, more protective path.
Urgently Needed: A Better Way to Preserve and Protect Wildlife and Wild Ecosystems
With the world in the grip of a global warming crisis that is altering ocean current circulation systems, and causing melting ice caps, rising sea levels, raging storms, flash floods, fierce fires, and severe droughts, every nation on Earth needs to take urgent action to reverse the destruction that is being caused by damage to the environment.
All forms of air, water, and soil pollution need to stop, and the reversal of man-made damage must begin now to protect our fragile world for the sake of all life on Earth. Effective, long-term solutions can only be achieved, however, through the united efforts of governments worldwide, working together to protect all remaining natural ecosystems and restore already damaged lands and waters.
What the world needs now are leaders who will guide their nations along a path to save and protect remaining wild ecosystems, and expand them to create protected areas connected by safe migration corridors to allow natural dispersal of all wildlife. These actions need to be achieved with the involvement of local communities living close to protected areas.
Trans-frontier protection and connectivity of wild ecosystems needs to be ensured across all nations to help reduce global climate change. In areas where megafauna and predators still roam wild, careful land-use planning that allows natural dispersal of wildlife from one protected area to another without causing conflict with humans is required.
At a time when human population growth and development are predicted to increase rapidly in Africa, there is urgent need to surround all national parks and reserves with protective buffer zones where no unsuitable land use is permitted. Already, increasing human population in rural areas is leading to encroachment on wildllands, causing more human-wildlife conflict (HWC), environmental damage due to over-grazing of livestock, and depletion of water sources inside protected areas where crop farming occurs on the boundaries. Uncontrolled poaching to supply the illegal trade of meat from wildlife and demand for body parts of endangered species is also causing a rapid decline in prey species as well as key species in many range states. In others, obstacles such as fencing, settlements, trophy hunting, and poaching are preventing natural dispersal of elephants, leading to overly dense populations.
Elephants are keystone species that need to be allowed to migrate safely. Because of their appetite and migratory habits, they disperse more seeds farther than any other animal. As one of the key seed dispersers of Africa, they work tirelessly with thousands of dung beetles to ensure seeds from trees, bushes, and grasses are distributed and planted, surrounded by a nourishing ball of manure, to ensure the forests and savannah ecosystems are constantly regenerated. Those forests and grasslands then act as carbon sinks, climate regulators, and water catchment areas, preventing droughts and soil erosion. To protect the elephants, there must be a total and immediate ban on all trade in ivory, elimination of all demand for ivory trinkets and carvings, and an end to elephant trophy hunting so elephants can move across their range along their ancient pathways and carry out their vital roles. Ninety-five percent of this workforce of the forests and savannas of Africa has already been lost. Space needs to be made for the last five percent.
Lions, too, are a vital keystone species that needs total protection because of the many threats they face. It's estimated that there are only about 20,000 wild lions left across Africa, Lions help to maintain a healthy balance in wild ecosystems by removing the weakest animals to ensure survival of the fittest. They also keep herds of grazers on the move to prevent overgrazing of savannah grasslands. Lions could become extinct in the near future if the causes of poaching and HWC are not solved by: 1) creating protective buffer zones around parks and reserves, 2) helping local communities prevent conflict with lions, and 3) setting up eco-ventures to ensure steady, long-term livelihoods in exchange for helping protect wildlife inside and around protected areas. It is also vital to stop all poaching of prey species inside protected areas to help to reduce conflict with lions when they leave parks in search of food.
Many sources of funding need to be identified and pursued to support projects and programs that will prevent HWC and lift poor communities living alongside protected areas out of poverty. Vacant hunting concessions where wildlife has disappeared could be converted into protected community-run conservancies. A percentage of tourism revenue, a big business environmental tax, more funding from major NGO's, philanthropists, a percentage of funding from all high end tour operators, and more regenerative tourism could be put into place.
Please sign this petition, calling on the governments of Botswana to explore alternatives to trophy hunting and consumptive use of wildlife that will help to prevent HWC, end the insatiable demand for meat from wildlife and body parts of endangered species, and eliminate the causes of poaching so safe habitat and migration corridors can be set aside to allow natural dispersal of herds and prides