‘You try living with them!’ — Botswana offers 20,000 elephants to Germany

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Botswana has offered to send 20,000 elephants to Berlin, telling Germany’s left-wing government it should try living with the mammals before pushing trophy hunting bans on African countries.

Calls by Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke for bans on trophy hunting have been met with stiff opposition in Botswana’s capital of Gaborone, with political leaders insisting that hunting, when done sustainably, helps to protect crops and villages from being destroyed and boosts tourism to developing countries.

Speaking to the Bild newspaper, Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi said his country was suffering from an elephant plague after recent conservation efforts, and the Botswanan people are dependent on some of the animals being culled through controlled and “sustainable” hunting.

“We are paying the price for preserving these animals for the world,” Masisi told the German tabloid, explaining it was very easy for left-wing politicians like Lemke of the Green party “to sit in Berlin and have an opinion about our affairs in Botswana.”

He explained that his government had already offloaded 8,000 of the animals to nearby Angola due to their exploding population, and threatened to send 20,000 elephants to Berlin so German politicians can “live together with the animals in the way you are trying to tell us to.”

“We would like to make such an offer to the Federal Republic of Germany. We don’t take no for an answer. 20,000 wild elephants for Germany. This is not a joke,” Masisi warned.

There are now over 130,000 wild elephants living across Botswana, and the government has reserved 40 percent of the country’s landscape for protected wildlife — a move that comes at a considerable economic price.

This type of deportation of these wild animals has happened before. For example, the Namibian government transported around 150 wild elephants to Cuba by plane in 2013 and flew 22 to the United Arab Emirates in 2022.

Maxi Louis of the Nature Reserve and Conservancy Association (NACSO) in Namibia told Bild: “We have not yet transported 20,000 elephants, but we are very confident that a country like Germany in particular can carry out this elephant transport successfully.”

“The best place to hand over the elephants to Ms. Lemke is on open farmland outside of Berlin, where there are grain crops. The elephants will then have something to eat,” she added in jest.

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