Botswana accuses US of "encouraging poaching of elephants"

Botswana President Ian Khama on Friday accused the US government of encouraging elephant poaching following its recent decision to rescind the sporting trophy ban.

M . Khama was speaking at a conference on African elephant conservation in Botswana

"I want to take this moment to condemn in the strongest terms the decision made by the Trump administration which issued the 1 March a memorandum with immediate effect, according to which the US government would consider issuing permits for certain elephant trophies from six African countries, "said Khama.

" I think this administration undermines our efforts and also encourages poaching because it knows that our laws prohibit hunting in Botswana, "he added.

The decision of the US Department of the Interior would allow on a case-by-case basis the import of tusks and hides. elephants killed in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

In 2012, a picture of Donald Trump's son, Donald Junior, holding a knife and an elephant's tail at side of a The buffalo carcass on a hunting trip to Zimbabwe provoked international condemnation.

Thirty African countries called on the European Union (EU) to ban the ivory trade, during a summit in Botswana to protect elephants and fight against poaching.

Presidents of Botswana Ian Khama, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Gabon Ali Bongo signed a petition with 29 other countries on the continent once again, Europe "to close its ivory market"

The EU, "the world's largest exporter of legal ivory", exported "1,258 defenses in 2014 and 2015, more than than in the previous eight years, "according to the Avaaz organization behind the petition.

The EU has since advised its member countries to export only carved ivory rather than natural defenses.

But this legal trade could fuel the demand for ivory and serve to mask its illegal trade thus, warned Avaaz.

"At the current rate, elephants that live in the wild could disappear in a few decades "according to the release.

"European officials told us that they could not ban ivory because there were not enough African officials who wanted it," said Bert Wander, Campaign Manager at Avaaz.

"The rest of the world turns its back on ivory trafficking, why not Europe?"

The African continent has only 415,000 elephants, 111,000 fewer than in the last decade, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Every year 30,000 pachyderms are killed.

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