Botswana bans hunters after killing of research elephant

A pair of male elephants is seen in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, April 25, 2018. Picture taken April 25, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 15 December 2019

Botswana bans hunters after killing of research elephant

  • Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi sparked global controversy when he lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May
  • Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching

GABERONE: Botswana’s government has revoked the licenses of two professional hunters who shot dead a research elephant and then destroyed its collar to try to hide the evidence.

In a statement late on Saturday, the environment and tourism ministry said that professional hunters Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp had surrendered their licenses after shooting the elephant at the end of last month.

Their nationalities could not be immediately established. Potter was banned for an indefinite period and Sharp for three years. Neither hunter was available for comment.

“In addition, the two hunters will replace the destroyed collar,” the ministry said. “The Ministry will work with the hunting industry to ensure that the necessary ethical standards are upheld.”

The shooting recalled the killing of ‘Cecil the lion’ by an American hunter in neighboring Zimbabwe in 2015, also an animal that had a research collar and was supposed to be protected. His death provoked outrage on social media.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi sparked global controversy when he lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May. The ban had been installed five years earlier by his predecessor, Ian Khama, an ardent conservationist.

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s.

Officials in the southern African country say the animals are causing problems for farmers by ripping up their crops, so hunting is necessary to reduce their numbers.

The mostly arid country the size of France has a human population of around 2.3 million, and its expanses of wilderness draw millions of foreign tourists to view its wildlife.


US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran

Updated 52 min 31 sec ago

US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran

  • Zarif said Iran is still open to negotiations with US if sanctions are lifted
  • Tensions between the two have been increasing steadily since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear pact

DUBAI: The United States will not lift sanctions on Iran in order to negotiate, US President Donald Trump tweeted late on Saturday, seemingly in response to a Der Spiegel interview with Iran’s foreign minister.
“Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. @FoxNews @OANN No Thanks!” Trump tweeted in English on Saturday and later in Farsi.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Sunday by tweeting an excerpt from the interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, where he said Iran is still open to negotiations with America if sanctions are lifted.
“@realdonaldtrump is better advised to base his foreign policy comments & decisions on facts, rather than @FoxNews headlines or his Farsi translators,” Zarif said in the tweet with the interview excerpt.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have reached the highest levels in decades after the US killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to fire missiles days later at bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed.
Tensions between the two have been increasing steadily since Trump pulled the United States out of Iran’s nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions that have driven down Iran’s oil exports and hammered its economy.