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3 Apr, 2024 13:25

Botswana threatens to ‘deport’ 20,000 elephants to Germany

The African nation’s president is outraged by Berlin’s move to ban the import of hunting trophies
Botswana threatens to ‘deport’ 20,000 elephants to Germany

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has threatened to send 20,000 elephants to Germany in a diplomatic spat sparked by Berlin’s proposed crackdown on imports of hunting trophies from Africa.

Masisi told the German tabloid Bild on Tuesday that the move, led by German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, would only impoverish people in the southern African nation, where the growing elephant population is destroying farmland.

According to the president, herds have destroyed property, eaten crops, and trampled residents, including security officers. Last June, the Botswana Defense Force reported that one of its soldiers had been killed by a herd of elephants at an operational base. A British woman also died in 2018 when an elephant attacked her in northeast Botswana.

Botswana is home to the world’s largest population of elephants, with over 130,000 of the mammals living on its territory, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.

President Masisi said the expanding population is a result of decades of species protection, and that hunting has helped to keep the numbers under control.

“It is very easy to sit in Berlin and have an opinion on our affairs in Botswana. We pay the price for getting these animals for the world – and even for Lemke’s party,” the African leader said.

The landlocked country previously donated 8,000 elephants to neighboring Angola, and Mozambique is expected to receive hundreds more as a means of reducing the population.

“We would like to make such an offer to the Federal Republic of Germany. We don’t accept a no,” President Masisi declared on Tuesday.

“Accept this gift [of 20,000 wild elephants] from us. You should live with the animals as you try to dictate to us,” he added, emphasizing, “This is not a joke.”