Botswana reportedly has auctioned six licences to hunt a total of 60 elephants, the first to be allowed in the southern African country since President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a five-year ban on hunting last year. According to international media reports, the country legalized hunting of elephants as 'there are too many of them' and the recent allowance on hunting is in a bid to 'end human-wildlife conflict'. The elephant population in Africa is also on a decline, however, countries like Zimbabwe and Botswana face 'overpopulation' due to which the country legalised the killing of elephants.
Adrian Rass, the managing director of Auctions Botswana reportedly said that seven hunting packages of ten elephants each were available for auction. Hhowever, only one package was not sold as no bidders met the reserve price of 2 million pula. he further also added that the six packages were sold for a total price of $25.7 million pula.
According to reports, Botswana is home to almost a third of the continent's elephants and it has also seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s. The Botswana authorities reportedly also said that hunting is necessary to ease the conflict between animals and humans and especially farmers who have seen their crops and infrastructure destroyed by elephants roaming outside their feeding zones.
Neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa have also reconsidered conservation laws to try and balance the need to protect sought-after species such as elephants, rhinos and buffalo from poaching while managing danger they pose as they encroach on areas of human habitation. While speaking to an international media outlet, a resident said that the elephants have also killed a lot of people and destroyed livelihoods. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife also said that license would be for controlled hunting area and that the auction was open only to companies registered in Botswana.