Hunting ban could be costly for Botswana

Professor Joseph Mbaiwa from the University of Botswana, says the ban on safari hunting which was implemented in 2014, was a political decision and cannot be justified from a scientific viewpoint.

According to his research report titled “The impact of the ban on safari hunting tourism on local income and nature conservation in northern Botswana,” Mbaiwa finds that no local communities were consulted during the decision-making process.

He says the ban contradicts the goal for conservation and rural development in the country’s community-based natural resource management program (CBNRM).

According to the study, rural communities are worse off since the implementation of the ban.

Mbaiwa says research shows that safari hunting in Botswana contributes to the sustainability of nature when the quota system is managed.

According to the report “the quota system leads to selective hunting so that it is well regulated”, and finds that only old, male animals may be hunted. Productive animals are not removed from the cycle. Hunting is only allowed six months of the year outside of the mating season.

Mbaiwa warns that the ban on safari hunting will contribute to an increase in conflict between people and animals and that there won’t be money available to deal with such challenges.

“If people want to think of game animals as their own because they would benefit from the conservation and regard this as a partnership between the community and the government, it would increase the chances that rural people will help conserve wild species in the environment. Now, the opposite is true,” warns Mbaiwa in his report.

“People are most likely to poach wild illegally because they will not benefit from conservation.”

Since the hunting ban was implemented in Botswana, South Africa is the only destination for international hunters who want to hunt buffalo.

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