Botswana issues warning to ‘deport’ 20,000 elephants to Germany


(MENAFN) Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has issued a bold ultimatum, declaring his intention to send a staggering 20,000 elephants to Germany amidst a brewing diplomatic conflict over hunting trophies. The move comes in response to proposed measures by German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke aimed at tightening regulations on imports of hunting trophies from Africa.

In an interview with the German tabloid Bild on Tuesday, President Masisi condemned the proposed crackdown, warning that it would exacerbate the challenges faced by Botswana. He emphasized the detrimental impact of the burgeoning elephant population on the country's agricultural sector, citing instances of property destruction, crop consumption, and even fatalities resulting from elephant encounters.

Botswana, renowned for hosting the world's largest population of elephants, has grappled with the consequences of their increasing numbers. President Masisi highlighted incidents such as the tragic death of a soldier at the hands of an elephant herd and a fatal attack on a British woman in 2018 as poignant examples of the human-elephant conflict plaguing the nation.

Attributing the elephant population surge to decades of conservation efforts, President Masisi defended the necessity of controlled hunting as a means of population management. He lamented the disconnect between international perspectives and the on-the-ground realities faced by Botswana, urging a more nuanced understanding of the country's conservation challenges.

In an unprecedented move, Botswana's president hinted at the possibility of exporting thousands of elephants to Germany as a direct response to the proposed regulations. This bold stance underscores the gravity of the diplomatic rift and the urgency of finding mutually agreeable solutions to address the complex issues surrounding wildlife conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

Notably, Botswana has previously undertaken initiatives to manage its elephant population by donating thousands of elephants to neighboring countries, with plans underway to extend such efforts to Mozambique. As tensions escalate, the fate of Botswana's elephants hangs in the balance, amidst a backdrop of diplomatic tension and conservation discourse on a global scale.

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