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Botswana threatens to send 20,000 elephants to Germany amid trophy import dispute


Botswana has issued a stern warning to Germany, suggesting that it may send 20,000 elephants to the European nation amidst an escalating disagreement over the import of hunting trophies.

The tension between the two countries arose earlier this year when Germany's environment ministry proposed imposing stricter limits on the importation of hunting trophies, citing concerns about poaching.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana condemned Germany's stance, asserting that imposing a ban on trophy imports would further impoverish Botswana. He emphasized that conservation efforts in Botswana have led to a surge in the elephant population, resulting in heightened human-elephant conflicts. According to Masisi, hunting serves as a crucial measure to manage elephant numbers and mitigate these conflicts.

Botswana, known for being home to the world's largest elephant population, had banned trophy hunting in 2014 but lifted the restrictions in 2019 due to pressure from local communities. The country now issues annual hunting quotas.

President Masisi highlighted the challenges faced by Botswana, with elephant herds causing damage to property and posing threats to human safety. He criticized Germany for its stance on Botswana's wildlife management policies, suggesting that Germans should experience living alongside elephants as they advocate for conservation efforts. "This is not a joke," Masisi emphasized.

Previously, Botswana had offered to relocate elephants to Angola and Mozambique to address overpopulation issues. Masisi reiterated his willingness to extend a similar offer to Germany and urged them to accept the gift. He criticized the German climate, suggesting it is unsuitable for elephants.

In response to Botswana's threat, a spokesperson for the German environment ministry stated that Botswana had not formally raised concerns with Germany. However, German environment minister Steffi Lemke expressed willingness to accept Botswana's invitation to inspect wildlife protection measures.

This recent development follows Botswana's previous threat to relocate elephants to Hyde Park in London as a protest against a potential UK ban on safari hunters importing trophies.

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TAGS:GermanyPoachingElephantsBotswanaWildlife Conservation
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