” This is not a joke ! » Botswana threatens to send 20,000 elephants to Germany

A strange line of defense… The president of Botswana threatened Germany to transfer up to 20,000 elephants to him, in response to criticism from Berlin. At the heart of the controversy, the hunting of pachyderms and the export of trophies that the country practices, according to the African president, to regulate the number of animals.

The Germans must “live with the animals as they try to dictate to us,” Botswana leader Mokgweetsi Masisi told the German daily Bild posted online Tuesday. “It’s not a joke,” he added about his offer to resettle these thousands of pachyderms in the country. “We would like to give this gift to Germany,” said Mokgweetsi Masisi, adding that he “would not accept no refusal”.

The largest population of elephants in the world

Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa, is home to the largest population of elephants in the world, around 130,000. But cohabitation is often difficult according to the president, who mentions attacks against people, villages and cultures.

Critics of Germany’s environmentalist-led environment ministry are targeting elephant hunting trophies for wealthy Western clients. The ministry had raised the possibility of more strictly limiting the import of these trophies due to poaching problems.

“Within the EU, we are holding discussions with the aim of extending the import permit requirement […] to other hunting trophies of protected animals,” a ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday. As Germany is one of the largest importers of hunting trophies in the EU, it has “a special responsibility” in this regard, she added.

A quota of hunted animals

Regarding the “gift” envisaged by President Masisi, the German Ministry of the Environment indicated that “Botswana had not yet made contact” with him on this subject.

In 2019, Botswana lifted a total ban on hunting, introduced five years previously to reverse the decline in populations of elephants and other species. This lifting aroused the anger of environmental defenders. Commercial hunting is also an important source of local income.

Since then, Botswana has decided every year on a quota of animals that can be hunted. Last year, the country also offered 8,000 elephants to Angola and 500 to Mozambique in 2022.

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