Elephant hunting has been prevalent all over the world for decades. It is one of the main reasons why some elephant species are nearing extinction.

What makes matters worse is that not many countries are taking steps to prevent trophy hunting.

People travel to different countries in search of endangered animals and hunt them for sport. Endangered elephants happen to be one of their prey.

While almost every country is aware of the predicament these beasts are in, they are not doing anything to save them.

Even worse, some of them secretly encourage them to attract tourists. One country that did take matters seriously was Botswana.

The South African nation is famous for having the highest elephant population in the world. Most trophy hunters traveled to Botswana to hunt these animals.

However, as these animals began to decline, the government took notice and enforced strict laws against elephant hunting.

The ban helped preserve the animal’s population for quite some time. Sadly though, it did not last long as the country lifted it after a short period.

Safe Haven

More than 130,000 savanna elephants reside in Botswana.

According to experts, this species could quickly become extinct if governments do not implement drastic measures to save them.

The country’s government introduced the hunting ban back in 2014.

Ian Khama, Botswana’s former president, played an instrumental role in enforcing this ban.

He was quite vocal about animal rights since he became president.

He wanted to protect elephants and every other creature living in Botswana to help them thrive.

Initially, his pleas fell on deaf ears as no one helped the government fight animal cruelty and hunting.

Instead, some noted a significant increase in elephant deaths prompting Ian Khama to take strict action.

He banned elephant hunting and announced that authorities would take severe action against anyone caught breaking the laws.

Animal rights activists from various countries applauded Khama’s decisions and stated that other presidents should follow his example.



Unfortunately, very few did, making Botswana the only country that took its animal hunting laws seriously.

Despite the ban, poachers continued to hunt endangered elephants without getting caught.

They adopted a discreet approach, making sure that they only killed them when they were clear.

Some of these hunters ended up getting caught, but most of them escaped.

It encouraged more people to try to attempt stalking and killing these animals.

It also included first-timers, which indicated that elephant poaching was on the rise once again, but this time, it would be worse than before.

Unfortunately, that is what happened, and the situation went out of control.

The government couldn’t afford to dedicate all of its resources to save the endangered elephants.

Higher-ups in the government tried to pressurize the president into lifting the ban.

However, he did not budge and claimed that he would do everything in his power to reduce save the savanna elephants. 

Safe No More

After trying to protect endangered elephants in every way possible, Botswana threw the towel and lifted its ban on elephant hunting.

As you would expect, there was a backlash, especially from the activists who fought so hard to make illegalization possible.

If there’s any consolation, the president who enforced it wasn’t the one to remove the ban.

Instead, it was the person who replaced him, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Several people speculated that he made this move to win over voters from rural areas to get the upper hand in the upcoming elections.

However, no one was able to confirm whether or not these rumors were true.

Reversing the policies resulted in an immediate increase of wildlife hunting in Botswana, erasing any hopes of improvement in the rest of Africa. Of course, the savanna elephant population decreased further.

Experts claimed that if these animals continued to die at such a rate, they would become extinct within a decade.

No one paid attention to these shocking statistics, leaving no more than 130,000 elephants in Africa.

According to a reputable survey, there was a thirty percent decline of these animals between 2007 and 2014.

Some expect that the upcoming population reports could be much worse than the previous one.

Excuses

When confronted about lifting the ban, the newly elected Botswana president claimed that his decision was motivated by his love to protect people.

He stated that these wild beasts were dangerous for people living in villages and would stampede through their houses, causing a lot of collateral damage.

The president also claimed that these elephants would destroy all the crops grown by farmers with a lot of hard work.

Very few people bought into these excuses and speculated that Mokgweetsi Masisi had ulterior motives for making this decision.

There was no evidence to suggest an economic downturn or a decrease in tourism.

People slowly began to lose faith in the president and thought that they were better off with the previous one.

Why Is Elephant Hunting So Common In African Countries

Botswana and other countries in Africa are a prime location for hunting elephants and other endangered animals.

The continent has favorable conditions for most creatures, which means that wild animals are abundant in various parts of Africa.

Also, the hunting laws here are quite lenient compared to other countries, allowing people to set camp in jungles and forests for extended periods.

Some hunters even spend months vacationing in these areas in search of their prey.

Poachers prey on animals for a variety of reasons.

Some hunt them for sporting purposes while others do it for their body parts. Elephant tusks, in particular, are quite popular among hunters.

They sell them to hidden markets in China and other Asian countries for thousands of dollars.

Individuals who do not sell these parts take them home as memorabilia and use them as decorative pieces in their rooms or lounges.

The Sad Truth

Unfortunately, it does not seem like trophy hunting will come to a stop soon.

If anything, you can expect an increase in the future as more people are showing a keen interest in giving this brutal sport a try.

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