Statement from Save the Elephants’ Founder, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, on the lifting of the Botswana elephant hunting ban – May 23, 2019

Botswana – whose progressive policy on protecting elephants has led to their elephant population becoming the largest in Africa – has now announced that they intend to open sport hunting. While we consider hunting elephants to be morally repugnant, akin to shooting dogs, cats, whales or great apes for pleasure, sport hunting is highly unlikely to significantly impact the growth of their elephant populations. 
Far more serious is Botswana’s intention to lobby for the re-opening of trade in ivory.  The global momentum towards banning all trade in elephant tusks has seen huge success, and China’s 2018 closure of its domestic ivory market – the world’s biggest – was a huge step forward in helping reduce the demand for ivory. This remaining demand is strong enough that ivory poaching is driving elephants towards extinction across much of their remote range in Africa. Seeking to re-open trade in ivory risks fuelling a renewed demand and dooming the elephant populations in those countries where they are less well protected than in Botswana.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton
Save the Elephants’ Founder
Jane Wynyard
Head of Communications
Save the Elephants
+254 (0) 708 669 635