According to acting Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Minister Frans Solomon Van Der Westhuizen, the Botswana government has declared the period from September 3 this year to the end of January 2020 as hunting season.
“The period beginning 3rd September 2019 to 30th November 2019 has been declared open season in all controlled hunting areas except... all controlled hunting areas under lease by private sector or community trusts,” said the minister in a document seen by APA.
He added that “the period beginning 3rd September 2019 to January 2020 is declared open season hunting season... for hunting elephants only.”
The Department of Wildlife and National Park also made a similar public announcement.
“The hunting quota for 2019 has been approved and is displayed at all Department of Wildlife and National Parks offices,” the department said, inviting members of the public to visit its offices to apply for licenses to hunt.
The latest development comes amid growing tension over the nation’s elephant population, with some arguing that the number of elephants has grown and that the animals are damaging crops.
The country is home to the world’s largest elephant population, with estimates putting the number at about 130,000 elephants.
Since announcing that it has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension, Botswana has come under fire from individuals and organisations from the West who have started calling for a boycott of the country’s tourism industry.
But President Mokgweetsi Masisi is unmoved by the threats as he dug his heels in insisting he “will not be intimidated”.
He insists that he was “not going to be intimidated while wildlife kills our people”.