The Southern African nation of Botswana has 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 recently that has all changed. The country — home to around 130,000 elephants, the most of any nation — has experienced an alarming spate of elephant poachings over the past two months. According to conservationists on the ground, since mid-July, 90 elephant carcasses have been discovered within Botswana. It seems, that after poachers have devastated populations in nearby Zambia and Angola they have trained their sights on Botswana's.
The increase could be attributed to several issues, but activists suggest that the main reason could have something to do with the fact that the government 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.
According to Elephants Without Borders, in 2014, a similar census showed that only 14 elephants had been poached in an equitable amount of time. The deaths this year, show a 540% increase over the span of just four years.
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.