A large number of elephants have fallen prey to the greed of poachers in Botswana. Elephants without Borders, while carrying out extensive surveys, found that 87 elephants have been killed by poachers for their tusks in the last few weeks, along with 5 white rhinos. The spike in poaching activities has curiously coincided with Botswana’s anti-poaching unit being dismantled and disarmed. The Botswana government disarmed its anti-poaching units in May 2018 – a month after President Mokgweetsi Masisi was sworn into office. Earlier, Botswana was reputed for having an unforgiving approach to poachers and had largely escaped the elephant losses seen elsewhere. With the disarmament of its anti-poaching units, poachers have found it easy to hunt for trophy deep within the heart of Botswana’s territory, with the latest killings found close to the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, which attracts tourists from around the world. Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders commented: “When I compare this to figures and data from the Great Elephant Census, which I conducted in 2015, we are recording double the number of freshly poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa.” With 130,000 elephants, Botswana has been thought as the last sanctuary in Africa for African elephants, as poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across the rest of the continent. With changes made by the government, conservationists fear the scale of this new poaching problem is a herald for imminent disaster unless steps are taken by the Botswana government to curb the problem at its root.
———- As reported by BBC News
Cover Photo: Baby elephants, orphaned by poachers, are now being cared for at a new sanctuary in Botswana | By www.bbc.co.uk