In order to protect its wildlife that draws thousands of people each year the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has announced that no more hunting licenses will be issued from next year. It is hoped that by banning hunting it will be more difficult for poachers to launder their kills out of the country.
Botswana has , as with other African countries, seen a big boost to the number of animals poached in recent years. The reduction in wildlife is now noticeable and in order to save its wildlife and safari industry a ban on hunting was deemed necessary. [pullquote]“Our wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit,” [/pullquote]
The new stance was announced by the President on sunday during a visit to the town of Maun which is heavily reliant on tourism as a source of income and employment.
There are two main areas of Botswana that will be impacted by the hunting ban – the Okavango Delta and the central Kalahari region.
“Our wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit,” said Khama.
He said the numbers of wild animals that attract tourists from across the globe has been going down.
With a tourism industry that is driven by wildlife accounting for nearly 12% of the countries GDP it is essential for Botswana to halt the decline in wildlife.
As well as a ban in the issuance of hunting licenses that President also announced a boost in the number of soldiers and rangers that will be dedicated to anti-poaching activities.
Botswana is the leading country in Africa for elephants with over 123,000 individuals but with rising elephant poaching taking place across the continent it was easy for poachers to export tusks from the country using fake trophy licences. now that hunting is to be banned in the country there will be no legal export option that can be exploited by the smugglers.
Botswana has a large slice of the premium safari market thanks to its stunning landscapes and wide range of species. With non-hunting tourists now making up the vast majority of visitors to the country protecting the wildlife from hunters and poachers makes financial sense as well as being the right thing to do.