A ban on regulated hunting in Botswana, first introduced in 2014, was later overturned in 2019 after a report found increased incidents of human wildlife conflict and livestock deaths, in addition to a reduction in community benefits, as a result of the ban.
While quotas were issued last year, foreign hunters were unable to travel to Botswana due to COVID related restrictions, something which has impacted hunting tour operators and local communities across the globe.
Starting next month, quotas will be issued for hunters coming from abroad. The news was met positively, particularly with communities dependent on wildlife as part of their livelihoods – many of these same communities were critical of the effects of the hunting ban.
The spokesperson for the Botswana Wildlife Producers Association (BWPA), Ms. Debbie Peake, suggested that, “Without a hunting quota in community areas and in commercial concessions, many operators were forced to relocate to other African hunting countries such as Tanzania and Zambia.”
Not only is regulated hunting critical in supporting local communities through direct means, such as employment or the distribution of meat, it also plays a key role in incentivising communities coexisting with wildlife to engage in conservation efforts.
The CIC would like to congratulate Botswana for opening the doors to foreign hunters, which should bring about benefits for wildlife, people and the country as a whole.