Botswana sells 60 elephants for trophy hunts at first auction since it ended ban

By on February 7, 2020 with 34 Comments

Botswana today auctioned off the lives of 60 of its elephants, giving trophy hunters around the world a license to kill these gentle giants for fun.

This was the first elephant auction held since the country lifted a five-year ban on such hunts last year; it was conducted by a local auction company at the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism in the capital city of Gaborone. On offer were seven lots of 10 elephants each. The auctions could be followed online, and interested bidders had to put down a refundable deposit of 200,000 pula ($18,300).

By the end, six of the seven lots were sold to trophy hunting companies for a total of $2.35 million. These companies will, in turn, sell elephant hunts to globe-trotting trophy hunters.

Altogether, Botswana will allow 272 elephants to be trophy hunted this year. The hunts will take place in Botswana’s winter months between April and September, when the African bush is thinner and the animals are easier to spot, according to media reports.

This heartless trade in the very lives of such beautiful and beloved animals, known for their intelligence and for forming deep social bonds within their communities, goes against everything we now know about elephant conservation. Elephant populations in Africa have been dwindling for some time now, and a recently released census found that their numbers in savannah nations, including Botswana, declined by 30% (equal to 144,000 elephants) between 2007 and 2014, or by about 8% per year.

Against this background, Botswana’s ban, instituted in 2014 by then president and avid environmentalist Ian Khama, became a shining example for conservationists. In the years it was in effect, the ban is estimated to have saved nearly 2,400 elephants. However, Mr. Khama’s successor, Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, ended that ban last year, despite reports that elephants in his country are being increasingly targeted by poachers.

President Masisi has held out wildlife conflict as his reason for restoring the trophy hunts, but conservation scientists warn that poorly regulated trophy hunting can actually worsen such conflicts by disrupting animal groups and creating social chaos among their ranks. There are other peaceful and non-lethal ways to address human-wildlife conflict, including immunocontraception. Humane Society International has already shown the way forward on this in South Africa, where we have successfully used non-hormonal, non-steroidal, reversible population fertility control methods to humanely control the growth of elephant populations.

The Botswanan government has also claimed that the money made from trophy hunts will benefit local economies. But studies have shown time and again that local people rarely, if at all, receive any of the revenue from such hunts, which, much of the time, are skimmed off by corrupt government officials.

Trophy hunting is fast on the decline, as the world turns away from senseless and unnecessary violence toward wildlife. On the other hand, wildlife tourism is on the rise, with more and more people eager to spot, photograph and experience charismatic animal species in their natural habitats. Botswana’s decision to reopen trophy hunting will almost certainly have a negative impact on its wildlife tourism, which is now a major driver to the nation’s economy. Given these facts, we strongly urge the Masisi administration to restore the nation’s prohibition on trophy hunting and focus instead on growing and harnessing the economic value of wildlife tourism.

Tell Botswana to reinstate its trophy hunting ban

Categories
Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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34 Comments

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  1. Urbanski says:

    Es soll endlich aufhören.Warum lassen wir zu ,dass die Tiere gemordet werden w Die Menschen immer noch nicht verstanden haben was diese Handlung für uns alle bedeutet.
    wir sollen uns schämen!!!!!!

  2. Brian O'Neill says:

    There must surely be a revenue stream from an animal living billionaire out there who could save the lives of these elephants. Small change for a member of the 1% who has a heart and a soul. Imagine how dark a soul it takes to kill an elephant in a junk, fraud, canned “hunt.”
    Shame on those in Botswana responsible for this cruel, immoral, dishonorable act and shame and a pox on those who would cause any harm to these creatures who come from the same Supreme Being as we human brothers and sisters do.

  3. David Bernazani says:

    My message to them that I sent in your petition:

    I WILL NEVER, EVER VISIT YOUR COUNTRY WHILE YOU CONTINUE TO KILL ELEPHANTS, and I will urge my 4,000+ Facebook friends to do the same, and to spread the word to all THEIR friends.
    This message will go viral: that Botswana is an evil place, with greedy and corrupt people in charge. We will have nothing to do with your country, and if we want to go in a wildlife tour, we will go to countries that cherish and protect theirs. Not you.
    Until you prove to the world that you will never allow trophy hunters in your country, you will not see our tourist dollars.

  4. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Malditos infelices la vida de un animalito no es un juego ni una forma de diversión maldita gente infeliz

  5. Sarah Ritchie says:

    How can we name and shame the ‘winners’ of the auction?

  6. Dolores paddock says:

    Thanks Trump you loser, liar, son Jr. and father!

  7. cindy copeland says:

    Horrific and just cruel and wrong.

  8. Connie Burns says:

    How could you do that !!!!

  9. Paul Troalic says:

    This is quite frankly disgusting greed on the part of the Botswana government.
    What can these people be thinking?
    The cruel and heartless way that animals lives are sold is a stain on that country. These animals should be cherished and revered not offered for sale to the highest bidder.
    The sooner we abolish these hunting organizations the better the world will be. It is not a sport it is animal cruelty.

  10. Gaolatlhe Segaetsho says:

    People of Botswana are suffering and you all can come up here and cry for elephants. Crops are destroyed, people die, land is destroyed. Elephants are dangerous. You end up wondering how humans contract animal to human diseases like Corona virus, HIV diseases are brought by all this injecting animals with your vaccines messing with their immune system. How is it peaceful to use fertility control methods on animals. Let Africans deal with their old ways of living with animals

    • OkieDi says:

      Wait—Their “old way of dealing with
      animals “??!!
      Seriously??
      So, you’re saying old time Botswana sold elephants to corrupt people who could then sell them again so people can pay a lot of money that the villages never see to NOT actually hunt them but just kill them so they can feel like real hunters?
      Not to mention bringing these wonderful animals closer to endangered.
      Wow. You really don’t get it do you.
      What a wonderful human being you are.

  11. BaliRob says:

    One elephant is worth over 1000 Botswanese human lives – evil cowardly bastards.

    I hope the UN is listening and any other country or organisation that can sanctiion this country and the companies making financial gain.

    Please may the rest of the world help to protect these elephants who have every right to enjoy their lives

  12. Heleen Moulder says:

    Botswana please you are a wonderful country. Stop elephant hunting. Do not spoil your good name. No good.

  13. Leann Parkison says:

    How can theses people be so ignorant, the world needs to come up with a way for theses poor countries to make money without killing all the worlds wild life! There has got to be an answer to this! I could throwup after reading this!

  14. Etsuko Yamamoto says:

    Animals don’t live for human.
    They have rights.

  15. Maggie Shrimpton says:

    I am heartbroken that these wonderful elephants are going to be slaughtered in Botswana. Why are they doing this. The numbers of wild elephants are going down so quickly. If this continues therewill be none left.

  16. Brenda Kalemis says:

    Allowing trophy hunting again in Botswana by President Masisi is as dumb as shooting himself in the foot. It will diminish tourism, is causing world condemnation, and serves no rational purpose. This action is purely based on greed, money in his private pocket . A truly shameful decision on his part . Hopefully none of the hunters’ countries will allow the import of animal parts! Those countries are equally at fault for this up coming murder of innocent animals.

  17. Flavie Riendeau says:

    Shame on you all! How can you sleep at night! Money will not bring elephants when they will be all extinct thanks to you! Have a heart don’t destroy the herd of those gentle giants! They need each other just like us!

  18. Bonnie Spielman says:

    Elephants are not ours to put in circuses, to use to take down trees or to murder! They belong to their environment so that they can fulfill their destiny and take care of their daily chores. Why is the hunters life so much more important than the elephants? It’s not! The hunters have more money so they get to live another day and kill some more!!! Sick POS’es!!!!

  19. Sherry Wernicke CT State Council says:

    Has anyone made an effort to buy these elephants instead of going to auction? Is that an option? Was this proposed to the country?

  20. Dorothy Marshall says:

    Why can’t we keep them alive by running a “gofundme” that will provide as much revenue, if not more, than they would be getting from “trophy hunters”?

    Seems to me that millions of people would prefer the elephants be kept alive, vs a small number of serial killers.

  21. Batb says:

    Please save these beautiful elephants.

  22. naoki ishibashi says:

    save animal‼️

  23. Susie Wood says:

    This is unacceptable behavior! People of the world lift your voices to save these innocent animals from slaughter!

  24. JacM says:

    Any country giving international aid to Botswana should suspend aid until this practice ceases.

  25. Caryl says:

    EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THESE SO CALLED “SAVE THE WILDLIFE
    “ BY ALLOWING A HUNTING CLUB, NRA, OR ANY GOVERNMENT TO OPEN THE DOORS FOR ANY SUCH LETS KILLED WILDLIFE TO CONSERVE IT.. IS A BUNCH OF B.S. THE PEOPLE IN THESE GOVERNMENTS WHO WOULD ALLOW THI “ DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR WILDLIFE.. THEY CARE ABOUT LINING THEIR OWN POCKETS AND NOT THE LIVES THEIR PEOPLE.. I MEAN LETS FACE IT THE WRITIN* IS ONE THE WALL IT THIS WERE AT ALL “TRUE” WE WOULD NOT BE SEEING THE DECLINE OF ELEPHANTS, LIONS, TIGERS, RHINOS, ALL THIS SO CALLED CONSERVATION “CASH” WOULD BE CONSERVING AND THE DECLINE WOULD NOT BE THERE.. REALLY JUST PLAIN STUPID.. I MEAN JUST ASK HOW MANY ELEPHANTS SAY WERE IN THE WORLD IN 1975 AND MANY EXIST IN THE WILD NOW.. ITS MIND BOGGLING. ELEPHANTS ARE WONDERFUL, FAMILY ORIENTED, SMART, IT IS SO SAD TO THINK SOME DAY WE MAY ONLY SEE A PICTURE OF WHAT WAS.. AN ELEPHANT.. A LION, TIGER..ETC..

  26. Jonna Wilkins says:

    So sad

  27. Mary Sepede says:

    Please someone stop this!! This is unconscionable!!!

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