Target: Botswana President Ian Khama and the Environment and Wildlife Ministry
Goal: Protect wild animals by encouraging other nations to follow Botswana’s example and end wildlife hunting
The Southern African nation of Botswana recently announced that it would stop issuing hunting licenses beginning next year. This is a major advancement for a nation whose history includes legal and illegal wildlife hunting. The government came to the decision after it became evident that hunting was hurting the growing tourism industry in Botswana. Tourism currently accounts for 12% of Botswana’s gross domestic product.
If hunting continues, the loss of wildlife for viewing by tourists will decrease, and growth of the tourism industry will stall. In addition to negatively affecting the tourism industry, hunting also fuels poaching. Although, the cessation of issuing hunting permits will not end illegal poaching, it represents a major step by government in the right direction.
Botswana’s actions will help to preserve the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; both serve as homes to a diverse array of fauna. The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. It provides habitat for elephants, Cape buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, lions, and leopards, as well as many bird species. In ending the issuance of hunting permits Botswana is protecting some of the last unspoiled wilderness in Southern Africa.
The issue of illegal poaching still remains, and Botswana officials will have to be diligent in enforcing anti-poaching laws. Unfortunately, the trade in ivory doesn’t show signs of slowing, but the Botswana government has taken a huge stance against the destruction of wildlife, which is a step in the right direction.
Hopefully other countries that are home to diverse wildlife will follow Botswana’s lead and cease issuing hunting permits. Botswana is taking a stance against the destruction of wildlife in favor of a more sustainable, conservation-minded industry, and should be applauded. Please sign this petition below to encourage other countries to do the same.
Dear President Khama and Environment and Wildlife Ministry,
Your recent announcement that you will end issuing hunting permits at the beginning of next year deserves to be applauded. You are setting an example for Southern Africa, and the rest of the world, that the conservation of wildlife is important. Tourism in Botswana is a lucrative industry that can grow in ways that wildlife hunting cannot.
Although there is still demand for hunting permits, your decision to channel the economic focus of the country into tourism will not only conserve the diverse fauna, but also contribute to increasing tourism. By saving the species people expect to see in Southern Africa, the demand to visit Botswana will grow.
By relieving the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve of hunting pressure you are allowing some of the last remaining unspoiled African wilderness to thrive. However, illegal poaching will continue to be a problem. Please be diligent and fight to enforce anti-poaching laws, and prosecute those who break them. Don’t let illegal poachers undo your efforts.
Thank you for being a role model, and working to preserve rare and diverse wildlife in your country so generations to come have the chance to appreciate it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: animals.nationalgeographic.com