Botswana Triumphs At CITES

Date:

…Southern African elephants remain under Appendix II

Botswana and other Southern African countries have successfully defended their bid to stop the planned up listing of elephants in Southern African countries from Appendix II to Appendix I, a proposal that was aimed at prohibiting any commercial trade of elephants in these countries.

This comes after some West African states proposed for the up listing of elephants in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe from Appendix II to Appendix I at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Panama from November 14-25, 2022.

Giving an update on the outcomes of the ongoing CITES meeting in Panama, Department of Wildlife and National Parks Director, Dr Kabelo Senyatso revealed that Botswana was able to secure its bid to continue with elephant hunting through hunting quotas.

Senyatso however explained that the decision which was made at various committees and is yet to be finalised, indicating that countries will be meeting today (Friday 25th) to finalise the decision and come up with recommendations on sustainable use of elephants.

 “This update is from committees and not yet verified but Botswana will continue with the commercial trade of elephants,” Senyatso stressed.

Furthermore, Senyatso revealed that Botswana was also successful in its bid to commercially trade in hippos as the animals are not in any threats to be extinct.

He revealed that their attempt to secure a waiver to sell ivory stork piles was however declined by CITES on the basis that legal trade would negatively impact elephant populations and fuel organized criminality.

In an interview, Tcheku Community Trust Manager Peter Bantu who was among community members who attended the first week of the ongoing CITES meeting has commended countries that supported SADC states on their bid to continue with elephants trading.

He noted that as communities living in elephants prone areas, they will be able to fully exercise their right to utilise resources in a sustainable manner, adding that banning consumptive tourism would have spelt doom for their livelihoods.

“Elephants in Botswana currently exceed the carrying capacity of management areas and that poses a threat to other species as well as increased human wildlife conflict as they now migrate to residential areas,” Bantu noted.

Bantu has since called on government to meet with various stakeholders and prepare a solid solution which will stop Western African countries and animal rights grouops from challenging commercial trading of elephants in CITES.

Meanwhile Bantu has commended the government for involving communities and mobilising them to observe high level meetings such as CITES. He has also commended Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (NCONGO) for effortlessly lobbying against the ban of elephant commercial trading through Community Leaders Network Forum (CLN) and for also lobbying for community participation on such a high level meeting.

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