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Botswana has all but officially reinstated trophy hunting as a “conservation measure”.
 
Interim president Masisi was all for this, and despite “interventions” from a number of organizations to dissuade him from this course, it was inevitable.
 
To us, this raises issues.
 
1. The former Botswana government (with an elected president) said that trophy hunting was not a conservation measure. The current government (without an elected president) now says all this was wrong and trophy hunting is re-instated. So what are we dealing with? Was the science that informed the past government now no longer considered relevant, or was the decision based on vested interest lobbying? What information did the current Botswana government weigh to come to their conclusion?
 
2. If a government says they have made a decision to do one thing, can the next government then throw it all out? Is there any stability in very important decisions about wildlife conservation or are those decisions just temporary? What hope is there if one government or minister says one thing and another says another?
 
Interim president Masisi has clearly cast his lot with trophy hunters. He, weeks before, already announced that Botswana will not listen to “outsiders” in terms of wildlife conservation advice – and then clearly listened to trophy hunters – also outsiders. Can interim president Masisi tell us how many Batswana take a week or so out to do a bit of trophy hunting?
 
Mr Masisi surely realizes that Botswana is dependent on a global economy for wellbeing. The Botswana economy is almost entirely based on two “luxury” items – tourism and diamonds. International opinion could send stocks in either or both soaring or plummeting. It is a carrot and stick economic scenario, and like it or not, Botswana will not survive in a bubble.  
 
We feel very sad for the people of Botswana employed by the tourism industry. We feel very sad for the tourism companies, big and small. We feel bad for those employed by the diamond industry. We  have already, and this is just us, heard from scores of people today to say they will not visit Botswana or buy Botswana diamonds. How many scores of thousands have had the same view across the world?
Botswana  elections are in October. Let’s see what citizens think then of the current interim government’s policies. They will already have seen the economic consequences by then?
 
We above all feel very sad for Botswana's endangered wildlife. Botswana contains one of the last four surviving viable lion populations in Africa. We estimate there to be perhaps 1,200 wild lions resident in Botswana. 
But for how long?

Add a comment | Posted by Chris Macsween at 15:30