Botswana in shock elephant poaching crisis

Cruel: Elephants that have been poached often have their tusks removed.

Are Botswana’s elephants in danger? The country in southern Africa has been widely praised for protecting wild animals. However, a new report claims the government is hiding a poaching problem.

What’s happening

Botswana is widely celebrated as a haven for elephants, thanks to its 2014 hunting ban. It is home to nearly 130,000 of the animals — a third of the total population in Africa.

However, a new report from Elephants Without Borders says that the country has “a significant elephant-poaching problem”.

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Scientist Mike Chase, who researched poaching in Botswana for four years, says he found “obvious signs” of illegal elephant hunting. While flying over the north of the country, he says he saw 128 recently killed elephants.

The government argued that his figures are “false and misleading”, but Chase says authorities are covering up the problem.

Poaching is a widespread problem in southern Africa. Poachers often sell ivory elephant tusks on black markets.

In a fresh blow to wildlife conservation, Botswana is considering lifting its big game hunting ban because of conflicts between elephants and humans. Elephants can damage crops and sometimes kill people.

Are Botswana’s elephants in danger?

Some say…

Of course. Chase’s report shows that poaching is a serious problem in Botswana and action must be taken. Just look at Tanzania, where 60% of elephants were wiped out in five years. If the ban is lifted, the killing will increase rapidly because hunters know there are so many elephants in Botswana.

Others think…

We should not panic. The elephant population in Botswana is huge, and it has remained roughly the same for years. While poaching should be stopped, the number of cases is too small to bring down elephant numbers.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to go on safari?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are on safari in Botswana. Write a diary about your day, what animals you saw and how it felt.

Some People Say...

“Whenever we encounter wild animals in nature, we must only ever show kindness and compassion.”

Paul Oxton

What do you think?

Word Watch

Haven
A safe place.
Misleading
Giving a false idea.
Ivory
The valuable white material from elephants tusks.
Black markets
Illegal trading of controlled items.
Conservation
Preservation, protection or restoration of the natural environment and wildlife.

Subjects

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