Botswana, Kenya continue elephant protection talks

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Botswana will continue talks about elephant protection with Kenya in order to hold the east African country together with itself at an upcoming international conference on wildlife protection, a minister said Thursday.

The talks aim to bring Kenya on board with southern African countries at the table of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), whose 18th regular meeting will be held on Aug. 17-28 in Geneva, Botswanan Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Kitso Mokaila said.

Last month, Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta lobbied for a global ban on ivory trade, aiming to raise awareness of the protection of the iconic large mammals.

Last week, Kenya proposed that all African elephant populations should be listed in Appendix I at the CITES, which strictly prohibits trade and offers the highest protection.

However, Botswana’s position is that communities should be allowed to get involved in the sustainable management of elephants.

“We have taken a resolution to continuously engage Kenya to support us at the CITES meeting,” said Mokaila when addressing residents at Nata Village, some 630 km northwest of Botswana’s capital Gaborone.

Elephant-human conflict is becoming rife in Botswana due to elephant overpopulation caused by a hunting ban in 2014. Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted the ban a few months after he took office in April 2018.

Botswana has an elephant population of more than 100,000, far above the country’s carrying capacity.

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