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Botswana threatens to send tens of thousands of elephants to Europe

Both the UK and Germany have received threats from Botswana as the two nations contemplate implementing stricter limits on poaching and the import of hunting trophies.

Nothing quite like waking up to threats of being sent 20,000 African elephants, eh?

In what is a hilariously unfolding saga to those on the outside, Botswana’s president has once again threatened to send a large portion of its local elephant population to Europe.

He first revealed his idea to send 10,000 elephants to London’s Hyde Park back in March to give UK dwellers a ‘taste of what it’s like to live alongside them’. Now, he’s threatened to send two times that amount to Germany.

So, what’s the reason behind this?

Well, leaders in both the UK and Germany have been considering placing stricter limits on the imports of hunting trophies into their nations. They also have been exploring the moral, ethical, and legal debate surrounding poaching wild animals.

Botswana’s leaders are worried about the consequences their country could face in light of these potential restrictions, as British and German safari hunters contribute greatly to their economy while helping to manage local elephant populations.

Robust conservation efforts have seen Botswana become home to 130,000 elephants, with 6,000 new calves born every year. As a result, the country now boasts the largest elephant population on the planet.

While lovers of nature documentaries may see this as a good thing, it is unfortunately causing Botswana a ton of issues.

For one, elephants can be extremely dangerous. It is impractical for humans to live side by side with them as they move around in herds looking for space, food, and water.

As they journey around the country, they destroy people’s homes as well as national infrastructure. For example, one group of elephants has learned to break concrete sections of Botswana’s national pipeline in order to source water.

In great numbers, these large animals place pressure on the natural environment, stealing resources and habitats from other wildlife when their population is too dense.

So, while it seems like a funny headline, Botswana is facing a crisis – one that has seen leaders consider culling some of the animals. Hearing of the news, European conservationists have become outraged at this proposed solution.

Elephants are highly intelligent beings who foster life-long relationships with their herd. Changing behavioural patterns and knowledge about their surrounding environment are passed down through generations.

Killing even one elephant can traumatise the entire herd and lead to increasingly aggressive behaviour towards humans. In fact, elephants are known to charge at cars and humans when one of their herd members has been harmed or killed.

All this considered, Botswana is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Solving the country’s elephant overpopulation seems will not be as easy as culling them – and relocating them to Hyde Park is certainly not realistic either.