Botswana Wildlife agents have been given the green light to cull elephants in the Kasane region for hunting purposes.

The resolution was taken during an Elephant summit attended by tourism delegates who form part of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA) held in Kasane, Botswana, earlier in May.

Botswana has been experiencing an increase in the population of elephants, forcing the majestic animals to move closer to villages in search of food, resulting in human fatalities.

Africa is home to over 470 000 elephant – the largest number of 290 000 found in Southern Africa.

Kasane is home to 130 elephants. The region has experienced an increase in the population of these majestic animals over the years, making it almost impossible for wildlife and humans to co-exist.

Elephant attack survivor, Moana Samokando, says that he was attacked by the animal on his way to work.

“I was on my way to work when the animal came from the trees behind me and attacked me. I didn’t see it attacking.”

Since then, Samokando has been living with an injury that has affected his health, limiting his ability to work as he did before.

“I rely on manual labour doing part-time jobs in the village. Now I don’t get as much work as I did before. I can only do minimal work.”

The family now depends on the government feeding scheme to get by.

The recent gathering of the Kasane Elephant Summit came at the time when the residents were desperate for a solution. Wildlife Conservationist, Tom Steel, says Ivory trade has gone unreported.

“Trade of ivory has also gone unreported in cases where airport securities have not been aware on the latest trend of people wearing ivory as part of their clothing and are able to trade ivory from these countries.”

The elephant remains one of the endangered species in some parts of the continent. IUCN Co-Chairperson, Ben Okita, says Tanzania is one of the countries with the lowest number of elephants due to poaching.

“Countries such as Tanzania remain the lowest with number of elephant population due to the severity of poaching. I hope the summit will provide all parties involved with a practical and progressive solution. It will take a lot of money but it is possible to redistribute the number of elephant evenly in the continent without having to kill them.”

And this is what the conference agreed on. Botswana Minister of Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, says that they took into consideration the safety of Botswana.

“We worked to develop common regional position on elephant management and called to be able to trade and better benefit from our natural endowments so they may help us to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of life for rural communities. One life lost is one life too many. Of course we took to consideration the safety of the people of Botswana and we hope going forward we can achieve a harmonious coexisted of people and our animals.”

With the removal of anti-hunting ban, the people of Botswana can now make use of the wildlife expertise to reduce the number of elephants in the country.