Sunday Standard

Calistus Bosaletswe

22 Mar 2018

A decision to allow wildlife trophy is said to have opened up business for neighboring countries in SADC while Botswana loses out due to its stance on hunting.

Botswana’s neighbours will benefit from the US latest move to allow hunters to bring animal trophy such as elephant in the country.

According to University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa the decision will likely to see Botswana’s neighbors such as Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia benefiting from the trade.

Mbaiwa says surprisingly Botswana continues with hunting ban while other countries are bringing money through trophy hunting.

“Most of this elephants in neigbouring countries also migrate from Botswana to those countries but we are still convinced that we should go ahead with hunting ban. Why are we not lifting the ban on species like elephants since their numbers have increased resulting in those elephants becoming a threat to people where they destroy their crops and kills people,’ added Mbaiwa.

Mbaiwa further indicated that he has never supported the hunting ban since the decision was not based on scientific findings.

The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated that it is revising the way it reviews applications to import hunted animal parts in response to a federal court opinion and withdrawing broad conclusions that applied to African elephants.

Under the change, import applications will be individually assessed for whether the action enhances the survival of the species in the wild, a standard laid out in law. Previously, the agency applied countrywide determinations on that enhancement question when vetting applications.

The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service had decided last November to allow some elephant carcasses from Zimbabwe to be brought to the U.S. as hunting trophies, a practice previously halted by the Obama administration. The service determined the killing of African elephant trophy animals in Zimbabwe “will enhance the survival of the African elephant.”

After an outcry from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump then put the new import policy on hold and used Twitter to proclaim he was skeptical that “this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

The president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are avid hunters. Photographs published online in 2012 after a safari hunt show both posing with dead animals, including one image in which Trump Jr. stands holding an elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other.

Botswana broke ranks with other SADC countries and European Union which sided with pro-hunting   at Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting held in South Africa in 2016 calling for a total ban of trophy hunting.