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Botswana "threatens" Germany/ Takes 20,000 elephants, after controversies about the wild world

2024-04-03 17:47:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Botswana "threatens" Germany/ Takes 20,000 elephants, after

The president of Botswana threatened today that he would send 20,000 elephants to Germany, after debates between the officials of the two countries about hunting and the protection of the living world.

Earlier, Germany's environment minister suggested tightening rules on the import of trophy animal parts from hunters into African game reserves.

"But paid luxury hunting is a source of income," Botswana's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, told the media, adding that it would impoverish people in his country.

He said elephant numbers had increased greatly due to conservation policies and hunting was a form of keeping them under control.

Speaking to Bild daily, Masisi said that Germans "should live with animals before telling others what to do. I'm not joking."

Botswana is believed to be home to a third of the world's elephant population, at around 130,000, which they say is more than they have room to keep.

Masisi said their herds have caused damage to crops and injuries to residents.

Botswana has previously transferred 8,000 elephants to neighboring Angola, and offered hundreds more to Mozambique, in a bid to reduce the population of the giant animals.

"That's why we offer this as a gift to Germany as well," Masisi said, adding that he doesn't take no for an answer.

Even Botswana's wildlife minister, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, threatened last month to send 10,000 elephants to Hyde Park in central London so that "the British can understand what it's like to live next to them".

In March, Britain voted to ban the importation of hunting trophies, but the legislation has yet to come into force, while Germany is already looking to introduce similar legislation.

Botswana and other African countries earn income from luxury hunters who pay thousands of dollars for permission to kill wild animals, then take their body parts away as trophies.

Animal protection activists call the practice cruel and unacceptable.

Germany is the country with the largest number of imports of these hunting trophies in the EU, according to a 2021 report by the activist society 'Humane Society International'.

Botswana banned the controversial practice in 2014, but the restrictions were lifted in 2019 after pressure from communities over lost income.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Ministry in Berlin told the AFP network that Botswana has not filed a formal complaint with Germany over the issue.

"In the context of protecting biodiversity, we have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that the import of hunting trophies is legal and sustainable," she said.

Australia, France and Belgium are among several countries that have already banned the practice of importing trophies.

Botswana, and neighbors Zimbabwe and Namibia, are also seeking to be allowed to sell their ivory stocks, but activists say this encourages poaching./ CNA

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