Animal’s Daily Ivory Trade News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!

Moving on:  Elephants are being slaughtered in Botswana, one of southern Africa’s nations that actually isn’t a failed shithole.  Excerpt:

With 130,000 elephants, Botswana has been described as their last sanctuary in Africa as poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across the rest of the continent.

The first sign that was changing came two years ago when the BBC flew with Mr Chase close to the Namibian border and he discovered a string of elephant carcasses with their tusks removed for the first time.

But these latest killings have been found deep in Botswana – close to the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, which attracts tourists from around the world.

“People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it,” said Mr Chase, who pointed to the disarmament of the country’s anti-poaching unit as a cause.

“The poachers are now turning their guns to Botswana. We have the world’s largest elephant population and it’s open season for poachers.

“Clearly we need to be doing more to stop the scale of what we are recording on our survey.”

Well, since you asked, I have a couple of ideas.  One of them, at least, may be a bit surprising to some folks.

1) Bring back the safari business.  This does something nothing else will; makes the elephants valuable to most of the regular people who live in Botswana.  Back in the glory days of the African big game hunts, the safari outfitters employed lots of local people and provided a lot of fresh meat to local villages.  This meant that the people in the villages and the countryside had incentive to protect the elephants (and other wildlife) whereas now, without any of that, plenty of folks just see elephants as big, sometimes dangerous animals who eat their crops and occasionally decide to flatten a few houses.

2) Shoot poachers.  On sight.  No arrests, no nothing, no kidding; shoot them.  I’ve been told that back in the old days, the safari companies had quiet understandings with the various local governments that if their guides and so forth saw a poacher and shot him, the whole thing would be ignored.  But now, the linked article already refers to armed patrols; fine, we’re half-way there.  Find a poacher, shoot a poacher, and the incentives to gather illegal ivory would start to evaporate.

Africa has always been, and remains, a harsh place.  Seems to me the trick is to make it harsher on the right people.