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Gabon courts foreign investors to grow fledgling diamond sector

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We are not using diamonds to kill elephants, that’s hogwash! – Botswana minister

11 june 2019
Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.
Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana.
“That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.
“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.
“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”
Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.
Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.
“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”
The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.
Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephants.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished, from Gaborone, Botswana