Botswana’s elephant disputes with int’l wildlife protection groups continue

GABORONE, June 10  — Botswana continues to dismiss claims by international wildlife protection groups that the country’s lifting of its hunting ban will deplete the county’s elephant population.

Addressing miners at the annual Botswana Resource Sector Conference here Monday, Eric Molale, minister of mineral resources, green technology and energy security, denied reports that the country is using money from diamond resources to hunt elephants.

“We Botswanans are renowned conversationists. It is us who worked hard for the elephants to help their number grow,” said Molale, adding that the country is not culling elephants.

“We have only reintroduced trophy hunting,” he stressed, adding that 400 hunting licenses annually were added against a growth rate of 5 percent of the elephant population, currently at 130,000. He called the permitted hunting like a “scratch on the surface” of the entire elephant population. – XINHUA