'No joke': Botswana threatens to send 20,000 elephants to Germans

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'If you like them so much, then please accept this gift from us, we won’t take no for an answer,' says Botswana's President who opposes the German trophy ban

'No joke': Botswana threatens to send 20,000 elephants to Germans

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has issued a startling ultimatum, threatening to relocate 20,000 elephants to Germany amid a heated disagreement over the importation of hunting trophies.

Speaking to the German tabloid BILD on Tuesday, Masisi minced no words, declaring, “No joke.”

Masisi directed his ire towards the German federal government, particularly the environment ministry led by Green minister Steffi Lemke, for advocating a ban on trophy imports despite Botswana's elephant overpopulation.

Earlier this year, the German Ministry of Environment proposed stricter limitations on importing animal-derived "hunting trophies."

A Conversation With Mokgweetsi Masisi | Council on Foreign Relations
Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi is a Botswana politician who is the fifth and current President of Botswana, serving since 2018

Surge in elephant population

Botswana's President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, told the German media that this would serve no purpose other than impoverishing people in his country. Masisi stated that because of conservation efforts, there has been a surge in elephant numbers, and hunting helps to keep the elephant population in check.

"It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion about our affairs in Botswana. We are paying the price for preserving these animals for the world,” he stated.

The minister responsible for wildlife in Botswana stated, "In some areas, the number of these animals exceeds that of humans. They are killing children who come in their way. They trample and eat farmers' crops, leaving Africans hungry."

Botswana, home to approximately 130,000 elephants according to Masisi, has already relocated 8,000 to Angola. Masisi expressed a desire to extend a similar offer to Germany, stating, “We won’t take no for an answer.”

“We want our elephants to roam freely. The German weather is bad enough for them,” he quipped. “If you like them so much, then please accept this gift from us.”

“It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion about our affairs in Botswana. We are paying the price for preserving these animals for the world,” Mokgweetsi Masisi said.
 
 

10,000 Elephants to London's Hyde Park

Earlier protests by Botswana officials against a potential U.K. ban on safari hunters importing trophies included a warning in March of sending 10,000 elephants to Hyde Park in London, so that the British people could "experience living with elephants."

PETA, the animal rights organization, supports Lemke’s initiatives to restrict trophy imports, denouncing trophy hunting as “a hobby of rich, jaded people who have more money than morals.” The organization advocates for a complete ban on trophy hunting in Botswana, urging reliance on photo tourism for revenue generation.

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Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment disclosed that Botswana has yet to formally engage them on the matter, though Lemke has indicated a willingness to accept an invitation to inspect wildlife protection efforts in Botswana.

The German Association for Animal Welfare hailed the government's potential actions as “long overdue,” citing a 2022 report indicating that trophy hunts exacerbate societal inequalities.

Germany stands as one of the largest importers of hunting trophies within the EU.

Source: Newsroom

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