Poachers in Africa love to kill elephants for their ivory. While international law has severely restricted the ivory trade, we all know that laws do little to stop the trade of illicit goods. It just gives the authorities the means to punish those caught with those goods.
In Botswana, they recently disbanded an anti-poaching operation. The aftermath of that decision? Well, it’s not good.
A non-profit conducting an elephant census made the grisly discovery near one of Africa’s most important wildlife reserves. Elephants Without Borders found in an aerial survey that as many as 87 recently-killed pachyderm carcasses with their tusks removed, sure signs of an explosive poaching epidemic.
“I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded,” Dr. Mike Chase with the group told the BBC. “The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date.”
Botswana, home to as much as one-third of the global elephant population as well as large stocks of rhinos in a country where some 17 percent of the land is set aside for national parks, for years had an unwritten “shoot-to-kill” policy against suspected poachers. Armed anti-poaching units in one 2016 article were credited with killing a sizable number of cross-border poachers to include 30 Namibians and another 22 Zimbabweans over a two-decade period. The unit was even the subject of a 1997 National Geographic special entitled, Wildlife Warriors.
Then, this May, President Carter Morupisi issued a directive stripping the guns from anti-poaching units patrolling the country’s porous border regions. His predecessor, Ian Khama, was a former general who formed the wildlife units and often touted his ties to the groups.
In other words, Morupisi has stripped the guns from the very people meant to confront poachers. That means the poachers know they have absolutely nothing to fear. They don’t even really need to be afraid of confrontation since the poachers have no issue with going around armed despite gun laws. It’s not like the anti-poaching forces will do more than use harsh language against them, and probably not even that since they’ll get shot by the poachers.
Honestly, this was a stupid move.
While the shoot-to-kill order is a valid topic for debate on the subject, Morupisi went way too far in the other direction. Now, elephants are being killed at what sure looks like a rate faster than they can reproduce. This is how you hunt a species to extinction.
For the record, we’re not talking about legal hunts with permits and such where the revenue goes to help protect the species overall. No, we’re talking about people who kill these animals for no reason except to profit in the illicit ivory trade.
And now the people charged with stopping the poaching are unable to do a thing.
Guns.com reports that the anti-poaching units can’t even get quality camping gear or communications equipment. If they can’t call for help, and they can’t confront poachers themselves, then what the hell can they do?
Just think, though. This is what some people want in this country.