Every year, 20, 000 elephants are killed for their ivory.
It is a tragically high number and makes Botswana’s status as the home of Africa’s largest elephant population all the more important.
The country has a proud history as being a safe haven for the majestic animals – a history that the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Minister, Tshekedi Khama, is keen to preserve.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, the Minister emphasised that the value of a live elephant should be upheld at all costs.
“Botswana has a strong reputation for conservation as home to Africa’s largest elephant population. We are committed to maintaining this status and looking at new ways to preserve our commitment to elephants and our people,” he said.
Describing them as the custodians of an important global heritage, Khama praised the people of Botswana for the vital role they continue to play in helping conserve the country’s elephants
He explained that Botswana does not destroy ivory because communities living with elephants have been told there is value in conserving elephants for ecotourism.
According to Minister Khama, since 1989, African nations have destroyed about 150 tonnes of ivory, with 17 countries, including Botswana, carrying out ivory destruction events.
“In this regard in 2014, Botswana unveiled a unique elephant sculpture made up of ivory in the arrivals hall at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. The statue serves as a reminder to the people who pass through that building each day that conservation of this iconic species is our collective responsibility,” he concluded solemnly.