(Xinhua) -- Botswana’s President
Seretse Khama Ian Khama has unveiled an elephant sculpture made
out of ivory at the capital city of Gaborone to demonstrate its
commitment to the protection of natural resources.
sculpture made by full ivory tusks from nature died elephants
was displayed at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport where
government officials including Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi
and cabinet ministers and foreign diplomats attended the
The sculpture is intended to raise collective consciousness
about the plight facing the African elephant today. The
placement of the sculpture at the international airport
represents the international dimension or magnitude of the
Illegal Ivory Trade, said the president.
Most of the ivory that leaves African elephant range states
finds its way out in the cargo holds of aircraft and the luggage
Customs officials and airline staff now find themselves in
the frontline pertaining to the battle to combat ivory
trafficking, he said.
Africa’s elephant population is from 470,000 to 600,000,
according to World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). Botswana is home
to approximately one third of this total.
The country conserves resident elephant herds of 140,000,
migrant herds from 50,000 to 60,000 making the total to be
possibly reached at around 200,000, said Tshekedi Khama,
Botswana’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism at the
Over 20,000 African elephants were poached across Africa in
2013, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)’s report showed.
The minister said year 2013-2014, Botswana’s poached
elephants number was 38.
This is because all law enforcement agencies of Botswana are
involved in anti-poaching duties, he said.
Meanwhile, the minister of environment also mentioned at the
unveiling that the government is still facing challenge. Since
becoming a middle income economy, Botswana has been "forgotten"
by some of its traditional donors whose contribution directly
related to anti-poaching, he said.
Khama said the most recent donations for wildlife protection
the country has received are from Netherlands and China
The first one is 800,000 euro from Netherlands.
The second one is in this week, the Botswana government and
the Chinese government on Tuesday jointly announced a donation
of 1.7 million U.S dollars worth of goods from the Chinese
government for wildlife protection.
Thursday’s unveiling is the country’s latest action on
Earlier on Thursday, the Botswana government said it will not
sell any ivory in response to a article reporting the country
will seek permission to sell stock of tusks.
"As much as Botswana’s public campaigns have not included the
burning of ivory confiscated from poachers and illicit traders,
we have committed to ensuring that such specimen remain beyond
any economic use," said the government.
Earlier this year, Botswana’s northern village Kasane hosted
two international summits of wildlife protection—the African
Elephant summit and The Kasane Conference on The Illegal
Botswana is working with fellow African countries through
regional initiatives such as the Southern African Development
Community, Wildlife Protection and Law Enforcement Protocol to
expand the scope of regional cooperation in the fight against
wildlife poaching and trafficking, the elephant summit heard.
In 2014, the Botswana government, along with four other
African elephant range states Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania
launched the African Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI).
The EPI proposes a number of actions, including the removal
of elephant ivory from economic use until the African elephant’s
survival is no longer threatened by the illegal trade,
underlining the need for closure of domestic ivory markets in
Tourists enjoy close-up encounter with elephants in Chobe