Botswana unveils plan to kill elephants and turn them into pet food
Botswana, home to almost a third of Africa's elephants, is considering lifting a ban on big game hunting to address what the government says is a growing conflict between humans and wildlife.
- A hunting ban was established in Botswana in 2014
- The country's President set up a committee to reconsider the ban last year
- Increasing elephant numbers are causing problems for small-scale farmers
After months of public meetings and consultations, a report by cabinet ministers also recommended "regular but limited" elephant culling, and said dead elephants should be used for pet food.
It recommended that wildlife migratory routes "not beneficial to the country's conservation efforts" should be closed.
Conservationists estimate the southern African country has around 130,000 elephants, but some politicians say the number is much higher, saying elephants cause problems for small-scale farmers.
Those living close to elephants support the re-introduction of hunting, arguing the amount of conflict between people and wildlife has increased since the ban was introduced in 2014.
But conservationists warn tourism, Botswana's second largest source of foreign income after diamond mining, will suffer a backlash if elephants are culled.
Botswana, the size of France and mostly arid, has a population of around 2.3 million people and vast tracts of remote wilderness that make it a magnet for foreign tourists who want to view wildlife.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi said he would present the report to his cabinet before making a decision.
"I can promise you and the nation that we will consider it," he said. "A white paper will follow and it will be shared with the public."