Botswana tourism authorities perturbed about impending UK ban on trophy hunting

Botswana tourism authorities perturbed about impending UK ban on trophy hunting

Botswana tourism authorities perturbed about impending UK ban on trophy hunting

Published Mar 10, 2024


The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism in Botswana, Dumezweni Meshack Mthimkhulu and officials from the Botswana Wild Life Producers Association (BWPA) have called on the UK to reconsider its stance on the proposed Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill aimed at banning the import of hunting trophies.

This comes as the UK recently announced plans to impose a ban on imports of animal hunting trophies.

Mthimkhulu addressed members of the media during a press briefing held at the Cresta President Hotel on Thursday as government officials try to fend off the proposed ban.

“This is a self-defeating bill that is aimed at putting the livelihoods of our people at risk. The people of Botswana are concerned about the developments in the West because hunting activities are a primary source of income generating activities of our people. Our first port of call to ensure we preserve the the livelihoods of our people who depend on this industry,” the minister said.

The CEO of the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA) Isaac Theophilus called on the UK not to meddle in the domestic affairs of his country.

“We want our brothers from the West to not meddle in our affairs because already Germany is following suit, France is already passed the law of some sorts and Belgium is also doing the same. The domino effect of this and the overall impact will have a big impact on Southern Africa. We as SADC are saying, we should not be punished for good management practices,” Theophilus said.

The UK government is reported to be backing this new legislation which would stop hunters bringing back body parts of thousands of species, including lions, rhinos, elephants and polar bears, killed abroad.

UK media reports noted that the bill was proposed by MP Henry Smith, who said legislation would help conserve the world's most endangered species. The bill was approved by MPs and will now face further scrutiny in the Lords.

Even though UK accounts for less tan 10% of the market share in Botswana, BWPA says the UK’s influence will have a ripple effect that will result in other European markets following suit in imposing trophy hunting bans.

Every year, hunters from the UK travel abroad, often to southern Africa, and pay thousands of pounds to legally shoot animals, such as lions and elephants.

Leonard Matenje of the BWPA said this ban would have a negative impact on the livelihoods of more than 3 500 employees and communities who depend on the sport as well as 3.5 billion Pula the industry generates for the country.

“The BWPA therefore shares the concerns about the ban on trophy imports into the UK in the statements of the communities in Botswana as released on February 22 2024. The ban as currently proposed carries substantial risks for conversation and livelihoods-these risks have been corroborated by hundreds of experts, including many leading conversation scientists and community conservationists. The proposed ban has been heavily influenced by a commercial lobby group based in the UK, who acted as the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to ban trophy hunting,” Matenje said.

Saturday Star

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