In April, at the beginning of the trophy hunting season, the largest tusker elephant was killed in Botswana. Botswanan hunter Leon Kachelhoffer claims that he has killed this majestic beast, which only cost him 50,000 dollars. This has caused outrage among many animal activists and the former President of Botswana, Ian Khama.
For ten years, Ian Khama was the President of Botswana. As an animal lover, he banned elephant poaching and hunting. He firmly believes that poachers should be shot on site. This has helped significantly deter poachers in the country. Once Mokgweetsi Masisi became the 5th President of Botswana in 2019, trophy hunting was back on the table. He also removed the “Shoot to Kill” anti-poaching policy.
President Masisi sees elephant trophy killing as a win for the community. The money that big game hunters pay goes back into the community. He also believes that older elephants have no contribution to the herd and that killing them is a win for everyone.
A big tusker elephant is one with a large tusk. If one of its tusks weighs 100 pounds, the elephant is a big tusker. Last month, two big tusker elephants were killed for the thrill in Botswana. The larger of the two had tusks measuring 8 feet long and weighing almost 200 pounds. He was in his 50s.
The second of the giant tusker elephants killed was in his 40s. Since elephants can live well into their 60s, these are immense losses for the herd.
Older elephants keep younger and more aggressive elephants in check. Without the presence of older bull elephants, the younger ones can act out. They can attack the herd, vehicles, and people. Older elephants might differ in appearance, but they are faster and can walk further than younger elephants.
While President Masisi believes that trophy hunting benefits the economy, others quickly disagree. Elephant meat will be distributed to the hunters and the community, but they will not get the 50,000 from the hunt.
What President Masisi needs to understand is that hunting these majestic creatures will only deter tourism. Animal lovers and activists want to see elephants and other large game protected and in their natural habitat.
Who wants to travel to see an African elephant killed in his prime, harming the herb and their survival?