Breaking! New Poll Reveals That The U.S. Strongly Opposes Botswana Lifting Current Ban On Trophy Hunting & Supports Ecotourism

A newly released public opinion poll of registered voters in the United States shows overwhelming disapproval of a proposal to lift the ban on trophy hunting in Botswana and to prevent regular culls of elephants.

As previously reported by WAN, late last month, a Botswana cabinet subcommittee created and delivered a report to President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, calling for the current hunting ban to be overturned. Equally unfathomable, the report promotes the start of regular elephant culling.

The United States is Botswana’s second largest source of tourists. The results of the U.S. poll show that 75% of respondents think it is important to protect elephants from trophy hunting. An overwhelming 78% of respondents do not support the proposed culling. Furthermore, 73% of respondents believe that if trophy hunting and elephants culls are started, Botswana’s image as a leader in wildlife conservation would be harmed. With reports of elephant poaching on the rise in Botswana, 75% of those surveyed were worried about elephant poaching.

In a historic move, Botswana banned trophy hunting in 2014. After the ban went into effect, the country became a popular tourist destination for travelers who want to support ecotourism and the country’s iconic wildlife. In fact, this highly productive industry is considered to be under threat since many visitors choose Botswana as their safari destination specifically because of its firm anti-hunting stance.

Using data from the CITES international trade database, Humane Society International estimates that Botswana’s trophy hunting ban has saved nearly 2,400 elephants and 140 leopards from being killed so far.

In 2018, Botswana experienced 3.4% growth, contributing US $2.52 billion or 13.4% to the country’s economy, and supporting 84,000 jobs or 8.9% of Botswana’s total employment. Leisure travel accounted for 96% of travel and tourism spending, and almost 3/4 of spending came from international travelers. With tourism now the second largest contributor to the country’s GDP and a significant employer, reinstating trophy hunting and starting elephant culls could hurt the country’s economy.

“Millions of foreign tourists travel to Botswana to shoot majestic wild animals, not with guns, but with their cameras. Wildlife watching and photographic tourism is on the rise around the world, outstripping the revenue from trophy hunting and the number of trophy hunters by a wide margin. The current ban on trophy hunting is a win-win policy for Botswana’s economy, for the local community and for the animals,” Iris Ho, Senior Specialist for Wildlife Programs and Policy at Humane Society International, said in a statement. “There cannot be a more drastic shift for a country known as a safe haven for elephants to become an elephant canning factory for pet food. With poaching of elephants across Africa on the rise, legalized hunting and culling is a severe blow to Africa’s rapidly declining elephant population.”

The poll of 1,091 registered voters was conducted by the Remington Research Group from March 3-5, 2019, with a margin of error of +/-3% and a 95% level of confidence.

Urge Botswana to keep a ban on trophy hunting by contacting the Chief Public Relations Officer HERE!

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