Botswana bans hunters who shot dead a research elephant and destroyed its collar
Botswana’s government has revoked the licenses of two professional hunters after they shot dead a research elephant last month.
It's believed that the hunters also destroyed the elephant's collar in an attempt to hide the evidence.
The killing of the protected elephant caused an international outcry. Many likened this incident to the killing of ‘Cecil the lion’ by an American hunter in neighbouring Zimbabwe in 2015.
Professional hunters Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp voluntarily surrendered their licenses, according to a statement by Botswana’s tourism ministry over the weekend.
According to reports, Potter was banned for an indefinite period and Sharp for three years.
Nic Proust, a conservation ecologist based in Maun in northern Botswana, says the elephant was shot on the 24th of November in the late afternoon.
Proust says there have been reports that the hunters did not notice the collar on the animal before taking it down.
The elephant was shot and the hunter had not noticed the collar, which some people say is ridiculous. Others say the bush was thick and it was hard to see the collar.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
Lee Potter was called in to do this hunt and he's devastated that he killed this elephant with the collar on.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
So he voluntarily handed in his licence out of recognition of the fact that what he had done was unethical.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
The local hunting body, the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association, is investigating the allegations that there was an attempted cover-up and will take action against the hunters involved, says Proust.
The big question is around the fact that the collar was allegedly burned afterwards. They wanted to destroy it.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
He says human-elephant conflict needs immediate attention in the country.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May.
His predecessor, Ian Khama, had put an end to hunting in 2014.
If you speak to local communities, they don't like elephants. Some despise them, fear them or see them as food.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
Until we've got elephant and humans living in harmony, there's always going to be hate for elephants. It also comes down to land usage.Nic Proust, Conservation ecologist
Listen to the discussion on Botswana's decision to reintroduce elephant hunting:
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