Why Campaign Against Blockade

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Last week, I noted that I will give reasons why I believe Botswana should campaign against the Hunting Trophies Importation Bill in the UK. The Hunting Trophy Importation Bill amounts to a wildlife trade embargo against Botswana. We should oppose the Bill because of the following reasons:

Botswana is operating within the CITES Rules and Regulations – International wildlife trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1973 and Botswana observes its requirements. CITES is an international environmental agreement among 150 parties that regulate trade of over 30,000 endangered animal and plant species. The primary goal of CITES is to ensure that wildlife affected by international trade are not exploited unsustainably. The degree of regulation over wildlife trade is established by three CITES appendices: i) Appendix I prohibits international trade of species threatened with extinction; ii) Appendix II protects species not presently threatened with extinction, but of high risk to becoming threatened if trade is not controlled, and allows commercial trade via permits; and iii) Appendix III protects species upon request of needed Parties and permits less restrictive controlled trade than Appendix II. Botswana has observed CITES requirements and trade in trophies allowed by CITES. Conversely, the UK is deliberately violating CITES regulations and the Biodiversity Convention of 1992 she is a signatory to.

Wildlife trade Embargo escalates black Market – Research has shown that wildlife trade embargo escalates black market of the wildlife product hence undermines wildlife conservation. CITES estimates that illegal wildlife trade was valued between US $5 and $20] billion per year a decade ago. This means illegal trade “is among the world’s largest illegitimate businesses, after narcotics”. Santos et al, 2011 argue that a ban on wildlife trade may make these products more valuable and/or appealing. This has been the case with the trade of rhino horn and elephant ivory among other wildlife products. Santos et al (2011) note that despite international wildlife trade bans such as the Appendix I listing of CITES, the illegal trade of wildlife undermines conservation efforts. Evidence has shown that Appendix I listing can inadvertently increase black market prices and trade of wildlife.

National Bans ands CITES Restrictions – Trade restrictions in wildlife become effective if there is a national and international adherence. Presently, Botswana is interested in trading with wildlife species such as elephants and buffaloes while the UK is threatening an importation of such products. National scale bans combined with CITES restrictions can decrease wildlife trade activity. However, the opposite happens if national and international parties conflict with each other. More collaboration and integrative measures between global, national, and local institutions are needed to combat wildlife trade issues.

Misinformation and Misleading Data on wildlife data – The UK Importation Bill is misinformed, and it is spearheaded by Animal rights groups such as Humane Society International (HSI). Animal rights groups argue that elephants in Botswana are threatened. This is not true as Botswana has a healthy elephant population. HSI has adopted tactics of making false and unfounded arguments of wildlife conservation, rural livelihoods and trophy hunting in Botswana. Therefore, should Botswana fold her arms and do nothing about Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill when her hunting tourism, wildlife conservation and rural livelihoods are at stake? I do not think so. We should do our best to protect our tourism market, including trophy hunting tourism market.

These are some of the reasons that I am of the idea that Botswana should campaign against laws that restrict the importation of wildlife products from Botswana. Botswana should hire Public Relations companies to do the campaign for us abroad. There is no doubt that all developed countries are likely to adopt the position of the UK hence failure to campaign against such as Bill may result in Botswana failing to export its wildlife trophies into the western world.

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