The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said it was prompted to issue a statement after it received letters by anti-hunting non-government organisations (NGOs) and photo-tourism operators claiming that the qualifying criteria for the special elephant quota auction and tenders are exclusive and inappropriate.
“The ministry will like to remind all interested parties, including those who have persisted in telling falsehoods about Botswana’s conservation and hunting programme, that the decision to lift the hunting moratorium is the sovereign right and decision of Botswana,” the ministry said.
It dismissed the protests by lobby groups, saying they represented “a special interest agenda” and were not in the best interest of community livelihoods and wildlife conservation.
The ministry said the decision was not made haphazardly and “was based on a democratic and extensive consultative process of affected communities and relevant stakeholders”, including NGOs, conservationists, scientists and leaders of neighbouring countries.
“The decision to lift the hunting moratorium was made in the best interest of aiding rural community livelihoods, stemming the rise of human-elephant conflict and incentivizing local communities to support sustainable-use conservation and tourism,” the ministry explained.