Botswana has earned $2.7 million from elephant hunting this year, say, officials, more than double the last full hunting season seven years ago.
Botswana lifted a five-year ban on trophy hunting in 2019 and this year the government issued 287 licenses for elephant hunting. Critics say the practice should be stopped.
The Minister for the Environment, Natural Resource Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng, told Parliament on Monday that hunting revenues had increased from around $1.3 million in 2014 to $2.7 million this year.
Botswana opened the sport to international hunters who pay up to $43,000 to shoot a single elephant.
“My ministry remains optimistic that the revenue accruing to the communities will continue to grow once restrictions on international travel are fully relaxed. Also the intensive vaccination programs across the world against COVID-19 will also facilitate more interest and more travel,” she said.
In lifting the hunting ban in 2019, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the aim was to address growing human-wildlife conflict, and crucially, provide income for local communities.
Minister Kereng said the government has come up with strategies to increase revenue from hunting, which will benefit communities.
“The implementation of strategic actions recommended in the Elephant Management Plan of 2021 to 2026 and other hunting reforms that the ministry has instituted are also expected to further increase revenues to communities into the future, such as long-term agreements with hunting communities, direct sale of hunting quotas, to mention a few,” said Kereng.