Botswana fumes over spike in elephant poaching claims

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

Botswana on Wednesday reacted angrily to international media reports claiming that the country’s decision to withdraw military weapons from its anti-poaching units on patrol along its borders has resulted in an increase in elephant poaching.

The international media claimed that carcases of nearly 90 elephants have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana and that the withdrawal of arms of war along the borders with the country’s neighbours was the cause.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Wildlife and Conservation Thato Raphaka said in a statement that elephants died due to natural causes.

“The Government of Botswana wishes to condemn in the strongest terms possible attempts by individuals or groups who give a false impression that they love Botswana wildlife more than citizens of Botswana,” he said.

He said during the conduct of a survey from 5th July up to 1st August 2018, a nongovernmental organisation contracted by the government, Elephants Without Borders, reported that they had come across 53 elephant carcasses, which were incidents that had already been cumulatively reported officially to the government as early as July and August of this year.

“Of the aforementioned 53 reported, a verification mission between July and August established that the majority were not poached but rather died from natural causes and retaliatory killings as a result of human and wildlife conflicts,” Raphaka said.


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