The Botswana Wildlife Producers Association, a group that focuses on the conservation and management of the country’s wildlife, says placing electronic tracking collars on large tusk elephants could help prevent indiscriminate hunting. The idea follows the recent killing of a so-called large tusker during a sanctioned hunt, sparking outrage among conservationists.
The association’s chief executive, Isaac Theophilus, said that while his organization is satisfied that the hunting of bull elephants is being handled properly, tracking down some of the larger tusk elephants could help.
An electronic elephant collar helps keep an eye on the animal to prevent unrestricted hunting of these animals for their teeth.
“The victim from the association’s point of view is that it was completely legal,” Theophilus said. “We are pleased with the size of the trophy that was harvested, and we are delighted that we still have such large tuskers. Going forward, the association would like to work hand in hand [the] Government to ensure that we monitor the elephant population there. go out there and collar some so called big tuskers and follow them to make sure they don’t get bitten or anything like that [that],
Theophilus called criticism of Botswana’s decision to resume hunting in 2019 unfair. The southern African country recently opened its annual hunting season, which ends in September.
“The issue may have attracted criticism from some quarters who do not value Botswana’s conservation efforts,” he said. “This particular hunt is a very good tusker. We as a country should have a lot of appreciation that our conservation efforts are bearing fruit. We still have large elephants in conservation areas, especially in concession areas and parks, Where no hunting is done.”
Local professional hunter Randy Motsumi said hunters always target older bulls with larger bulls, which their customers demand.
“Most hunters are looking for large bulls, which are old and no longer breeding,” Motsumi said. “If natural death could have happened, who would have benefited? Nobody would have benefited. The animal was about to rot in the bush. Now poachers have shot a bull and it has fed more than 700 people. There is money in the government treasury and the community has got employment. All these people have only benefited from one big elephant which is no longer breeding.”
Conservationist Map Ives said the shooting of large elephants drives the hunting industry.
“It’s a really impressive elephant, and big-toothed elephant hunting is at the core of what the hunting industry is selling to its customer base, especially in the United States,” Ives said. “This is what the professional hunting industry is for; Finding the biggest, biggest animal is because they have lists and books of record, and everyone wants to be in that record book and publish a story about that.”
One of the critics of the decision to kill a large-toothed elephant is Roger Gayle, a member of the British Conservative Party. He argued that tourists pay for photographic safaris to see large tuskers, and he opposes Botswana’s decision to resume trophy hunting.
But Botswana government spokesman William Sentshebeng says Gail wants to undermine Botswana’s pragmatic and sustainable conservation policy.
While elephant populations are declining elsewhere on the continent, Botswana has seen its herd grow to more than 130,000, with its highest support estimated at 55,000.