by poaching, have fiercely opposed the proposals with backing from some powerful American and European conservationists. Kenya and Mali believe that allowing Botswana to trade in ivory will facilitate illegal trade as they believe that Botswana is being used as a transit route of the process by neighboring countries such as Namibia and South Africa.
In addition, it is speculated that the observable increase in Botswana’s elephant population is attributed to escalated poaching in Namibia. However, there is no evidence to support these allegations.
The growing elephant population is regarded as a natural resource (tourism) of great economic potential and constitutes one of the continent’s greatest conservation successes.
Botswana is roughly the size if France and Texas with a population of 1.85 million people living around a population of 155 000 elephants and the proceeds from the sale of ivory (if CITES members votes Yes) are to be used for conservation and development projects for rural communities.
CITES is meeting this week at the Hague. For years, Botswana and its Southern African neighbours have been seeking to cull their elephant populations or to remove the animals from the list of endangered species. But countries like Kenya and Mali, whose elephants have been endangered