Hunters will soon be able to legally kill elephants in Botswana

Botswana has lifted a ban on elephant hunting, prompting outrage from conservationists.

The African nation, home to the world’s biggest elephant population, has cited growing conflicts between humans and animals as reason to overturn the ban.

Critics of the ban, enforced in 2014, said the animals posed problems to small farmers and to those who previously benefited from hunting.

The conflicts are contributing to destroying farmer’s livelihoods and crops, the Government said.

Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa. Source: AP

Dr Paula Kahumbu, an expert based in Kenya, said the ruling would be “damaging” to the country’s image.

“The whole world is turning away from hunting. It is increasingly seen as an archaic practice.

“This is very, very damaging to the image of Botswana as a global leader in elephant conservation.”

The lift follows Botswanian President Mokgweetsi Masisi setting up a committee to review the ban imposed by his predecessor Ian Khama.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) are lobbying to overturn the ban, saying numbers of the animals have become unmanageable in some areas.

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) cited over population and a threat to crops as reasons to overturn the ban. Source: AP

In a statement, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said: “The number and high levels of human-elephant conflict and the consequent impact on livelihoods was increasing.

"Predators appear to have increased and were causing a lot of damage as they killed livestock in large numbers," it said.

"The general consensus from those consulted was that the hunting ban should be lifted."

Botswana has around 135,000 elephants roaming freely in wild parks and open spaces.

Experts believe the population number could have tripled over the last 30 years.

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