Dori Edwards, Global Animal
BOTSWANA — During a public gathering in Maun, Botswana on Sunday, President Ian Khama revealed that the Botswana government will stop issuing hunting licenses. Khama believes that the availability of hunting licenses has encouraged poaching in Africa and prevented the expansion of the tourism industry.
As of next year, the Environment and Wildlife Ministry will no longer sell licenses to citizens in order to protect wildlife in the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve—Botswana’s two main hunting regions.
The delta, Africa’s largest wetland, is home to elephants, Cape buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, lions and leopard, while the reserve is said to have some of the “most remote and unspoiled wilderness” in southern Africa.
These two areas are a prominent part of the tourism industry which collects 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. However, Khama stated that the number of wildlife that attracts tourists has been decreasing due to game hunting.
Khama said their “wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit.”
This ban is particularly groundbreaking as it takes place in a continent where tens of thousands of elephants are slaughtered annually for their ivory tusks and an estimated 515 rhinos could be killed for their horns by the end of the year. There is no doubt that this is a progressive decision for not only Botswana, but the entire animal kingdom as well.