Monday, February 25, 2019

A Wildlife-Human Dilemma

Image result for elephant

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

The BBC produced a short video on a dilemma involving humans and elephants in Botswana.  Cabinet ministers have recommended to the president that a four year ban on hunting elephants on public lands should be lifted.

NPR's Amy Held fills in some of the important details, the competing interests, values, economics and points-of-view.  Botswana has the largest population of wild elephants in the world. One of the issues is that the number of wild elephants is not known--surveying their numbers is difficult or how rapidly this population is growing is not known. The situation begs for better wildlife management data but it isn't available.

Held notes that cabinet ministers recommended to President Masisi that the ban be lifted to include "'regular but limited elephants culling' as well as creating a legal framework to help grow Botswana's safari hunting industry." Among the recommendations, according to Held is "establishing elephant meat canning, including for the production of pet food and other byproducts."  President Masisi said that "If need be, we will give an opportunity to Parliament to also interrogate it (the report) and allow them to intervene, before we make a final decision."

Still the decision will be made under conditions of uncertainty and in a contested atmosphere.

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