The End of Safari Hunting in Botswana

Dereck and Beverly Joubert have spent decades filming and working for the protection of Africa’s big cats. Today on the Facebook page for their film “The Last Lions,” Dereck posted the following words of support and celebration for the end of legal hunting in Botswana.


By Dereck Joubert

I’m in the bush, having been with a good leopard sighting today, but could not overlook the opportunity to say this: In three hours as the sun goes down today, we will have heard the last of the hunter’s gunshots over the plains of Botswana.

Today, safari hunting ends!! The end of an era of conservation by the gun, and the beginning of a new era for Africa, a more gentle caring one.

My congratulations to the government of Botswana, with deep gratitude from me, from all concerned citizens, and from the informed global community of people that are concerned about wildlife.


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Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. He is currently beginning a new role as communications director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history.
  • Barnabé

    to TJ:

    What you say is just not true. Botswana does not need hunters’ money, it is a quite wealthy country by African standards, thanks to diamonds (almost 5 billion USD last year, for a population of 2 million people). Plus: money spent by hunters does not go to conservation at all, it goes to some private companies.

  • scott hargrave

    Great news, hopefully paving the way for the rest of africa!

  • Tessa Maltz

    Congratulations Botswana for taking a stand. I plan on working very hard to get people to visit your country because of your stance on conservation. Don’t listen to those people who justify murdering animals by saying that “hunting is where the money is”. They are just trying to justify their disgusting sport. Pretty soon Botswana will be the only country that has any wild life to speak of. Very brave move, you deserve to be recognized for this.

  • Donna

    Thank you, Botswana, for leading the way. Tourism is the way of the future and it’s time that African countries stopped the exploitation of its most valuable resource – wildlife – by wealthy foreigners arriving simply to hunt. I’ve traveled to Africa on photo safaris in the past and now Botswana is on my “must go” list.

  • Patricia shulman

    Thank you Botswana I will come there next year. I will never tourist where there is hunting. If only the US would do this, we ruined our own wildlife populations.

  • Tim Martin

    To reply to Mr Jouberts comment.
    It is not the banning of the hunting that is going to harm the wildlife in Botswana, its the use of the land. Some areas, Masame, for an example, can never attract photographic tourists and could never compete with the famous areas that surround the delta and the national parks such as the Moremi and the Chobe. The areas to the east of the delta are mostly semi desert and do not have permanent water supplies. The hunting operators sunk boreholes and wells into the dry Kalahari soil to create waterholes from where the animals may drink from. These very marginal areas do have populations of other animals and not just elephants that depend on these waterholes. Without the hunting companies financing these pumps the water is going to dry up and there will be a massive die off of game. Who is going to spend money on these marginal areas, it will not be the photographic companies as they will not see a return due to the fact that there is not enough game to support a photographic safari there.
    It is a fact that if game does not have a value then it will not be looked after. Do you honestly think that all the animals in the CH1 and CH2 concessions will survive the onslaught from the poaching that will occur. These areas will be inundated by cattle and the people of that area will cut down every tree to make way for their crops. They care less about a zebra or a kudu as it does nothing for them, let alone an elephant that drinks from the waterholes where their cattle water every day and then raids their crops at night.
    Game has to have a value to survive. There are more lion that live out of national parks in Africa than inside the parks. If these lions do not have some sort of value they will disappear. The people will kill them as the lions kill their live stock. Hunters are generally much tougher and will go into these very hard, remote areas for three weeks or more and hunt a few animals. A photographic tourist would never tolerate the hardships that a hunter does.
    The hunting areas form a buffer zone between the people and the national [parks, without this buffer zone the people with their livestock will take over these areas and encroach on the park, any lions or other such animals that come out of the park will be killed as they have no value and are 1/ meat for the people and 2/ killed because they are a threat to the livestock. Kenya is a prime example. Once they banned all utilisation of game it vanished, Kenya has lost 80% of its game since 1977. Who wants wild game when they can not make money from it.
    In Botswana it is not about the money its about what will happen to the land. Mark my words, the animals outside of the parks are going to vanish. Thanks to Mr and Mrs Joubert and the corrupt regime of Botswana.

  • gerrie Camacho

    Hi Derek.. well done my friend… you have eventually managed to place the facts on the table! I’m not against hunting per say, but facts are facts and the way hunting has been going was merely a very bad depiction of “conservation” a true hunter would have hunted like a lion or a leopard would have… he would have been proud to have taken the animal which is the most aged and weakened… he would have been proud of such a trophy rather than the biggest or most spectacular… he would have been proud to have made sure that the funds generated for those hunts does in fact contribute to conservation… its merely another enrichment industry for wealthy people… Unfortunately we will have to guard that Safari operators don’t go the same way of mere personal enrichment!! .. whenever there is money.. there will be “crooks” and exploiters… I have experienced that in my lifetime as conservationist as well… humans are natural exploiters… since I started using my rifles for defence only and unpacked myself a nice set of camera gear, I have to say I am experiencing way more serenity and job satisfaction…May you still have plenty of great experiences under the African sun… well done and keep going!! Botswana again sets the benchmarks… I salute President Khama!!!

  • MD

    I do not like hunting, I think it is cruel especially when it by the hand, or rather bullet, of an inexperienced “hunter”. I understand the culling may be needed in some cases, but hunting is for necessity (food), not for enjoyment. I think wildlife will do fine without the trophy hunters. All it takes is good conservation and caring, hard working people. Tourism also generates revenue!

  • peter Bale

    woooowww thanx Derek,m definately dropping an email to our President, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama to consider you being part of our Cabinet as a Minister of Wildlife And Tourism,that was well said and once again thanx for spending your time and money doing all this research,this will surely change the World,you deserve to be Honoured Mr Joubert,well done once again and see you @ Duba Plains soon,will be heading back this October

  • Sue Gray

    Born and brought up in East Africa I have been through all the debate about the rights and wrongs of hunting, hunting for conservation; buffer zones etc etc as far as Botswana is concerned there really is an issue with regards the bushman whose cultural signature is hunting as a way of life.

  • TOF

    Gee Mr Joubert, your comment about taking over a wasteland in the Selinda reserve is rather an insult to the previous concession holder, and to call it a wasteland is about the most ridiculous exageration I have heard. Be honest with yourself. Really.
    And you are rather sanctimonious and smug to offer to “rehabilitate” professional hunters in to exchanging their guns for binoculars and how to interact with people. Who do you think you are.

    Carol from Canada, you say there has be no increase in big cats in Botswana. How do you know this? There has not been lion hunting in Botswana for at least 5 years, yet the hunters are still blamed. (Scapegoat) There are too many lions in the south of Botswana, more lions being killed for “problem animal control” annually in Botswana than were ever hunted.
    As for income to the communities, one community area has been earning approximately P3,000,000 ($375,000) annualy from hunting, which will now stop. Now their game has no value, so lets eat it.
    One final observation. The pro hunters don’t seem to insult the anti hunters, however the anti hunters have a lot of rather insulting comments about the hunters. Indicates to me they generally don’t know what they are talking about, so let’s just insult them.
    Oh dear

  • richard sheppard

    If the anti hunting argument holds why is it that america which has 13 million hunters has such massive game populations. The highest wildfowl population since records begun, deer, pig etc all with record high. Its because of the sustainable utilisation of the wildlife resorce of which hunting forms a massive part. Same story in europe where hunting is practised and controlled.this is totally contrary to the argument that hunters wipe out all game. Someone please explain.

  • Marc Baar

    My suggestion to the now unemployed trackers and hunters is to seriously look into walking safaris. Botswana’s now ex hunting concessions could handle fly camps where one could walk from camp to camp with experienced trackers and experience the bush in it’s best way. The market for active holidays is a growing market and what a nice way to make a living. The other advantage would be a permanent patrolling of the concession. Just a general question, has Zambia not banned hunting as well?

  • Alan

    The anti poaching forces in Northern Botswana are to a large extent underpaid and demoralised. That is why they are engaged in the bush meat trade which runs from the Okavango into surrounding villages and in particular in to Maun. The government is aware that the department of wildlife and the Botswana Defence Force are complicit in poaching in the Delta, but seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I am not sure that this ban is such a good thing, given the un-preparedness of our anti-poaching forces.

  • Pat

    You will never get your point across to the greenies. They live in a fantasy world of rainbows and unicorns. Hunting as a conservation tool is the best way to control game populations but the greenies will never see that. I’m glad the greenies are happy with their conquest. I just feel sorry for the wildlife that will suffer from overpopulation because someone wants to take a convienent photo

  • Spekieries

    It is quite obvious that the Jouberts will cover up because they are photographers. For me TJ makes a lot of sense. The unfortunate problem is that once these mistakes has been made, it is near impossible to turn around. Unfortunately the Jouberts and I will be dead once the demise of nature (not only animals, holistic, nature) in Botswana will be at its peak. Mr Joubert it is time you leave the “Swamps” and visit the Tuli. Any one saying that the overgrazing by elephant is not detrimental to nature in the Tuli is a dishonest lier!!!
    Great nature conservationists Mr. Joubert, people that gave their live to Nature Conservation , Solomon Joubert , Prof. Fritz Elof (passed on) Hannes Kloppers and so many others has spoken out about elephant numbers especially in the Kruger. The same goes for Botswana.Culling is the only option to balance nature.
    In the Sabie Sand nature area, large Knoppiesdoring trees(Acacia Nigrescens) do not exist any more due to the impact of excessive elephant numbers ring barking these trees.(I admit trees does not make good footage for award winning,money spinning, nature films.)

    Sometimes when there is conflicting interest,(photography versus hunting) one wonders if the motives of people is honest or instead that financial reasons becomes a roll player.

  • Stephen Palos

    Some more wisdom from someone who’s been there and done it, and a fair challenge to the Joubert’s:


    We do not allow persons to publish posts on our face book page; however any-one is free to comment.

    We have received the following reply from Graeme Pollock Safaris, in response to the Jouberts’ statements regarding hunting, specifically in Botswana, published by Jaypee Smuts as a reply to Jaco Strauss’ comments, under the heading : Role of Private Wildlife Ranchers and Hunting, published on our fb page on 26 Sept..

    Dear Beverly ,

    Thank you for your comments , however as usual your comments are not backed up with fact or science but are an unsubstantiated opinion, I would however like to comment on relevant points as follows:

    1. I trust that I will not be blacklisted as per your other platforms as I expose the truth with facts.

    2. You state the BWMA stated that it contributed $6 million to the Botswana economy , is this a deliberate mistake or an intentional one ? , the BWMA has a Resource Economics report : Review of Safari Hunting In Botswana :
    Financial and Economic Assessment ( R.Martin 2008) it quotes ;

    ” a major study done by mead (2001) put the gross economic value of the safari hunting industry in Botswana at about US$10 million, seven years later (2008) this value has increased to about $40 million ” that was in
    2008 since then elephant quotas tripled so we could safely triple this figure to $120 million , a far cry from the $6 million you quote ! Licenses for elephant generate in excess of P8 000,000-00 directly to government alone.

    3. You state that 80% of that stayed in the US or Swiss Bank accounts , when you investigated this ! .. Firstly the Swiss banking system would certainly never release this information to you if indeed it did exist which the BWMA categorically refutes and secondly the resource economics report states that
    23.5 % of all revenues were retained as tax by local and central government alone. This excludes lease fees and resource royalties. Resource royalties averaged around 10% of total turn over and have to be paid in to the land Board with certification from a public accountant. You have inverted the facts – more than 80% of revenues remain in Botswana.

    4. Based on this incorrect figure that you provide , you attempt to distort the secondary income flows from hunting which are self correcting.

    5. Your comparison that a 24 bed lodge with its associated staff , effluent . waste , carbon emission , natural gas and oil consumption has a lower ecological impact than a one client with possibly one observer in a camp is completely absurd , we concede that 24 beds requires more staff , more infrastructure , more diesel oil and consumables , staff housing , than does a hunting camp , but it is for this reason hunting camps are more ecologically friendly than mass tourism. Low density tourism (Hunting ) preserves the wilderness.

    6. You state poaching is increasing and hunting does not prevent it , this is incorrect and I refer you to the 911 control centre in Maun who keep records of poaching incidents , in NG 47 we have operated there for 16 years and there has not been a single poaching incident , whereas in the neighbouring National Park there were over 30 elephant and a Rhino poached , the main activity in the park is photographic ! Extrapolate this across the rest of the hunting concessions !! ? . Further prior to the conversion of hunting concessions in the Okavango delta to photographic, poaching was a non entity , since the conversion the poaching has increased to the state that these concessions now employ full time anti poaching personnel.

    7. You yourself state that not a single poacher was arrested in the hunting concessions compared to photographic concessions, you incorrectly attempt to state that the gun shots are masked by hunters gun shots but again go on to state the hunters are only there for 5 months , so in the other 7 months there are no gun shots, yet still there is no poaching when there are no so called masking gun shots !!!! , and the reason any reasonable person will know is that hunters are a) armed and patrol on foot nearly every corner of the concession with trackers who quickly pick up any person who could pass into the concession , and b) the hunting party always has a Department of Wildlife Game scout with them. and c) the best trackers are often ex-poachers who now are gainfully employed this deters their poaching colleagues and removes him from poaching – all-round diminishing poaching.

    8. The selinda has never been a waste land, it is affected primarily by water and the flowing of the Selinda spillway which has the greatest affect on wildlife density , 6 years ago the flooding pattern were completely different than today , today the presence of ground water determines the density of wildlife. Contrary to your statements the Chase report and recent
    2012 survey shows an increase in wildlife in hunting CHA’s and a decrease in NP’s and core areas where most concessions are photo based. The record of wildlife surveyed in your area is public knowledge.

    9. You refer to 2 papers which we trust are scientific and peer reviewed and not coffee table sensationalist journalism opinion articles – there is a vast difference between the two . You refer to 1) Hunting is bad for Lion populations , there exists no science based peer reviewed published paper showing hunting is detrimental to Lion populations , in fact if you read the published work of Dr. B Smuts , lion are resilient and in fact increase fast and furious under pruning conditions , they culled over 400 lions in central KNP and they bounced back in less than three years , you should remember you were the manager at Harry Huts in the Sabi Sand around this time , however your reference is to trophy hunting and I redirect you to the recent study in the Niassa game reserve where Lion hunting is the primary activity , Lions have doubled in number from approx 600 to 1200 (Begg) , clearly refuting your statement that hunting is detrimental to Lion populations. Now your second point is in relation to an article that Dereck sent me and my response is on record , that hunters do not support the increased hunting of species that are threatened with extinction. We also do not deny that the price of a species increases with its rareness , however we categorically reject the notion that the banning of hunting is beneficial to a species and we cite the case of the Black Wildebeest , Bontebok , White Rhino ( I know not a good example right now ). These species were endangered and threatened by their low dispersal (isolated populations are vulnerable to extinction through disease ) , wildlife authorities set about making breeding groups available to private landowners for sustained use , the rest is history , these species have flourished under utilization ( wise use) and you will find some readers were not even aware their numbers were so low they were threatened with extinction.

    Then last but not least your offer to take up a challenge – well here it is and this is a very public forum .

    1. Firstly I am so glad you have stepped forward as we were concerned for the welfare of a) our staff b) the water provision of wildlife in our areas and c) the anticipated poaching in vacated areas.

    2. Your offer to employ all hunting industry staff ( approx 250 permanent jobs and more temps) and retrain them into passive employment is welcomed, the BWMA can forward to you a list with their salaries and omang(id) numbers to ensure they are legitimate and wage rate , the minimum pay roll should start around P375 000-00 per month , you have publicly promised to employ them and train them and find them new jobs.

    3. You say you have demonstrated that there will be no increased poaching as a result , fortunately the 911 centre makes it poaching statistics public so we can load these reports here and see if you will be able to uphold this promise.

    4. You have promised an increase in revenues from the closed hunting concessions , we have provided you with the target of $120 million.

    5. You challenge us to swop our guns for binoculars and personality to guide people , a) you are aware you still need a gun to guide people in dangerous game areas and I think your staff do have guns as well b) we all carry top of the range binoculars already and c) you are aware the PH license is the highest qualification a guide can get in Botswana , in the exams you need over 85 % to pass as a PH 75% to be a guide and so on.

    But what is a challenge without a counter challenge :

    The hunting industry puts it to you , if phototourism is the best land use and most viable use of the Botswana natural resource , then why are you afraid to open the tender process to multiple use , why not level the playing fields if you are not scared and are so sure photo tourism will out perform hunting ??.

    As I already know this is all hot air and a performance for the anti hunters , I will bring this back to reality and make it more achievable ,
    In the Kalahari you successfully closed lion hunting and subsequently all hunting and the concessions there lost an annual income of over P500 000-00 per annum plus 75 jobs per concession , the land is about to be rezoned and all the wildlife will be in serious danger , there has been three photo tourism sites put out on tender and not a single photo tourism company has stepped forward. What about you just keep your previous word and replace what was lost when you closed hunting in those areas before the grandeur of Northern Botswana.

    As I cant post on African Geographic or National Geographic , Lion Aid or Lions Forever etc , due to the dislike of me spoiling a good story with the truth, I would appreciate a cut and paste by someone who can.

  • Dries

    What is going to happen to the all the hunting concession areas? Who is going to see to to the land? Who is going to pay/fund to convert dry non picturesgue hunting concession into a photographers haven? Tuli block is dry, Maun is dry, Werda(Kalahari) is dry, none of those areas are tourist hot spots.
    All animals are equal but some are more equal……….
    Wake up and smell the roses.

  • Eugene

    I can see that a lot of “conservationists” are truly misinformed about hunting in general. Most hunters love wildlife more than any “conservationist” I know and it’s not about the killing of the animal or bloodlust or any of the anti-hunting propaganda… Maybe you should first walk a mile in true hunter’s shoes, before commenting on something you clearly know nothing about! Have any of you tree huggers been to the Kruger National Park recently? Have you seen the damage done by the elephants, since you tree huggers picketed to stop the culling of the elephants in the KNP? Within a few years several species numbers will decline, due to their habitat being demolished by too many elephants in an enclosed area… What then? Is an elephant’s life worth more than a reedbuck or a duiker? How do all of you tree huggers plan to feed all the animals if no hunting is allowed? Is culling then OK, where wildlife is shot at night with the help of a spotlight blinding the poor bambi’s? Please get real! This is not Hollywood, where bambi idolize his farther, the prince and is friends with a rabbit and a skunk…
    Nature is cruel… That is the way it is, get up from the couch and away from the TV and experience nature for yourself and not trough Disney channel…
    If I were an aging kudu bull, I would rather die by a well placed shot from a hunter’s rifle, than eaten alive by wild dogs or lions! What would you prefer….?

  • Stephen Palos

    Kenya banned hunting in 1977. You only need to read the articles on this simple Google search to see where Botswana is headed


  • Stephen Palos

    I placed this two days back & it still says awaiting moderator approval?

    Kenya banned hunting in 1977. You only need to read the articles on this simple Google search to see where Botswana is headed


  • Stephen Palos

    If the anti-hunters won’t listen to the logic of the hunters, perhaps they will listen to the IUCN?

    See the article on the link regarding snow leopard, from which one noteworthy passage reads:

    ”The reduction of Marco Polo sheep, ibex and markhor, the natural prey of the snow leopard, due to poaching and competition with livestock, has had a negative impact on the status of snow leopards in many locations across the Pamirs. This is particularly evident in unmanaged areas where poaching and grazing are prevalent. To the contrary, well-regulated sustainable trophy hunting programs and other forms of hunting can contribute to the conservation of mountain ungulates and indirectly to that of the snow leopard.”


  • Dirk

    Congratulations; ……. now the real slaughter will commence in the age old African tradition.

  • PJ

    Shame on the Jouberts! They will be responsable for the rapid decline of wildlife in Botswana over the next 10 years. To think they have been helped by hunters to set up their bussines in Botswana. 10 years from now all of you that is celebrating will be crying when your elephants lie dead in heaps, poached with their tusks hacked out! When will the greenies learn anything about the bush of africa! Mark my words the Jouberts will be directly responsible for more killing than trophy hunting could ever do and none of that killing will uplift Botswana…

  • Andrew Howley

    Hi everyone, thanks for engaging so deeply in this issue and doing it so constructively throughout.

    Dereck is currently traveling and unable to post directly, but he was able to get in touch and asked that we post the following update:

    — Begin Comment from Dereck Joubert —

    “Although a little late (I am travelling) it is worth a comment to some, even though it is mostly covered in previous notes. There are some differences of perspective I want to add to the debate.

    Hunters will always lean back on the argument that hunting saves animals. It doesn’t. Many of the areas that some talk of, that may be ‘not very good’ for photographic safaris, are like that because the hunters have shot the animals nearly out of existence. We have some experience of converting hunting areas to viable photographic areas (Selinda, Mombo, Jao, Vumbura, Linyanti) have all now made the transition and some of them (Selinda, Vumbura) were seriously depleted due only to hunting. Since then, these concessions bring in many fold the revenues that they previously did under the old era of hunting. They hire at least 10 times the number of people than before. They fill ten, twenty times as many seats on the national airline as before. There is real skills transfer going on. Prior skinners or cooks now work as managers of guides. Selinda chefs have gone to places like Cape Town for 5 star training. Not one of the staff at these converted concessions would trade back to be gun-bearers or people who gut animals and stuff salt into their skins for a living. A living that exists for only 5 months of the year (the hunting season) as opposed to 12 months now. The average hunting concession hires about 20% of what the same area under conservation tourism does.

    The waterholes inserted by hunters have to be debated as to whether these were wise to do anyway, in a natural system or in fact if they were to attract wildlife so as to shoot it, wildlife that would not normally be in those concessions, but have moved on seasonally as they have for millions of years.

    Most scientists believe that adding artificial waterholes into open systems is very damaging to the ecosystem. If they are critical the new concession managers will take over and run according to the government sanctioned concession management plan not some maverick policy made up on an ad hoc basis.

    I believe that the animals from CH1 and 2 will have no need to worry because there are already photographic companies wanting to take over those two areas I am told, and when they do, there will be substantially more controls in place to combat poachers and cattle herders invading the areas. Cattle and this ‘tree cutting down’ activity you refer to, is strange. Tree felling for cattle use is illegal and there is certainly enough capacity within government (BDF, Wildlife Department, Police) to quickly prevent that should it even start to happen, and even more reason to have a photographic safari outfit in there.
    There is a misconception that every one of these areas has to compete against a Zarafa or a Mombo. They don’t. There are dozens of avenues for tourism at different levels still available.

    Tim and others must know that Botswana is not like Kenya and that, as I have said in the past, the human population growth since 1977 there is what had the most impact on wildlife, not the stopping on hunting. This comes from very reliable authority, like the once Director of Wildlife Dr. Richard Leakey for example. But in Botswana with under 2 million people in a country the size of France, (not 40 million as in Kenya) those pressures don’t exist to the same extent.

    Corruption levels are a fraction of those that Kenya has seen during the past 35 years. Similarly, while some are not terribly pleased with anti poaching performances, Botswana has been effective and has some of the lowest poaching statistics in Africa. A look at the PIKE values (Percentage of Illegally Killed Elephants) and you will notice Samburu in Kenya at 33% which is very close to the determined “unsustainable” level and Botswana at 1-3%. But…what dashes the “hunters stop poachers” argument for me most is also revealed by looking at PIKE values. The Selous Game Reserve is a heavily hunted region, and has been for over 70 years. Not a single photographic concession south of the Rufiji protects it. The PIKE value there is a massive 84%! Hunting does not seem to be protecting the Selous at all but serves only to speed up the decline of the reserve and the wildlife in it.

    “Game” an old hunting term I don’t use often, or ‘wildlife’ does indeed have value in Botswana already and in many other places from activities other than the sport of killing it despite what others have said. But it is a dangerous premise to buy into Tim, the ‘if it pays it stays’ philosophy for each animal or acre of land. (Aldo Leipold, himself one of the fathers of hunting, said as much, “That to insist that each acre of land pay for itself is like burning the furniture to keep the house warm.”)

    As to if hunters are tougher or not, I have to smile, and we will leave alone detailed comments on the size, shape, age and demographic of hunters coming and going. Photographic travelers are quite often fit, honeymooners or successful business people who have stayed intellectually interested in life, in adventure and in conservation. There is a four-day canoe and walking trail in the Selinda area that is certainly not for those out of shape. We are looking into extreme safari, helicopter ‘drop ins’ that will take people to places that Selous and Livingstone may have once walked through but since then, almost no one has. There is a greater appetite for authentic non-aggressive experiences every day.

    Another myth is that hunting areas are laid out as buffer areas. They are not. They are sporadically placed now and actually siphon off wildlife from nearby photographic zones and parks, that look after their wildlife and it has been a huge frustration to many reputable photographic businesses and wildlife officials that a nurtured animal gets ‘sucked’ off into a territorial vacuum after a shooting, only to get shot as well.

    Ranting about the ‘corrupt’ government of Botswana is quite simply ridiculous. It is known as one of the least corrupt in the world, and its president hailed as a visionary.

    I think however that poaching will increase, but as a function not of vacant land but of the insane pressure from poachers that we are seeing everywhere. Now at least when they fire guns, anti poaching officials will know that it is illegal not one that is hidden behind the confusion of legal hunting.”

    — End of Comment by Dereck Joubert —

  • J. Ring

    End of elephant hunting in Botswana! Welcome a new and emerging Botswanan prototype of Mugabe and former “Leaders” of Kenya. They will be the recipients of ivory poaching. The population of elephant in Botswana is doomed. Probably another Mugabe style land grab as well.

  • Chuck Conner

    To believe that these third-world dictators and warlords who have for decades directly profited from the killing and sale of spotted-cat hides, rhino horn, elephant ivory and the assorted by-products of illegal shooters roaming the game trails is merely absurd.

    Those who so believe, must also conclude that the U.S. DOS is not a CIA counterpart, and that no revenue replacement is necessary on the Dark Continent for wildlife conservation.

    But now, with the supply significantly reduced, the price for the contraband may only increase. And those in power will continue to profit.

  • pasquale defelice

    I’m not against hunting but the one thing is the elephant’s “that’s not hunting, this a joke and a sad one. you should just tie your dog to a tree give him or her a bone and shoot it. first time I have ever given my opinion. For the last year now I have watched all the hunting shows 80% advertising and I understand this but helicopters to make the game run into the shooters range really! for those few try video games. good luck on you next ? kill/ ambush. did enjoy the shows, hope I will watch some of them again. p

  • BJ

    My friends in involved in conservation and rural communtiy development issues in Botswana are quietly concerned about the cessation of legal hunting. They remain quiet for fear of political and financial backlash. Stopping legal hunting across the board is hardly a victory. Conservation ‘elites’ should rather celebrate an end to habitat loss, illegal hunting and agarian-wildlife conflict. That would be cause for real celebration but woud make less sexy headlines and promotional tags.

  • Gordon

    Very typical of the anti hunters just like the anti gun people. They just are insane with their lies and non sense and their delusionary ideas.. It is well know that well managed hunting is by far the best thing that can happen to will life. In todays world, managed hunting and it’s revenue has brought back many animal that were near extinction or endangered. There never has been and never will be enough money available from non hunting groups to protect and mange the wild life at sustainable levels. The proof is every where you look. The fact is that game is managed for the maximum yield, just like any business. What’s good for the hunters is good for the game. Sure over a hundred years ago when hunting was uncontrolled it was a terrible disaster, but it’s not like that today. Animals are only hunted to the point that maximizes their existence. I am 60 years old and have hunted in many African countries as well as all over the USA, Europe, South America and New Zealand. When I was just a teenager and wanted to go hunting there was not much game around. Deer season was only 5 days long and only 1 out of 10 hunter got their deer. Now I live in a state where you can shoot several deer a day for 2 1/2 months and the population is still growing. Not to mention the large number of water foul now compared to then. All that conservation was paid for by hunters not you tree huggers. I was hunting in Wyoming a fews ago and then spent several days sight seeing in the Yellowstone Park. With the exception of Buffalo, I saw more game when I was hunting out side the park then visiting the park. In my 60 years, I have seen it all and one thing is for sure, where ever well managed hunting exist, wild life flourishes. Proper modern well managed hunting is the best friend that wild life has. As to the ethics of hunting. we need to get real here people. Nature is very cruel and no animal in nature dies a pleasant death. All animals are going to die. Where it be a slow death from starvation as they get too old or die in the jaws of a predictor. Since it is a fact they all will die, it seems to me that timing their death at the peak of tier lifes or before they decline by a quick and human hunters bullet is far more ethical then any death that nature will inevitable dish out. Also it seems that many of the anti hunters who complain about shooting an animal have no problem enjoying domestic raised meat, which in my opinion is far more cruel then any hunters bullet. That chicken you ate yesterday was given life just to be raised in less the a square foot and only lived 6 weeks with out the chance ever to see out side of the building it was raised in, never had the chance to mate and never enjoyed any of gods nature. But you are responsible for that chickens short life, because if you didn’t buy it, no one would have raised it. So what makes you better then a hunter that contributed to the management and habitat for wild animals to live their live in nature and then harvested quickly and humanly? Sound like the same people that hate hunters are the same people as the anti gun crowd. Same facts they all ignore the truth. That the most gun controlled city in the US Chicago where almost all guns are banned and most types are, but yet they have the highest crime rate in the country. The same goes for all the cities with out exception in the US. Every city with very tough gun control always have the worst crime. Where states and cities with very limited gun control or none have the lowest crime rate. Or these places that are so called Gun Free Zones, which is another way of saying Criminal Safe zone. Almost all of the mass shooting in the USA have been in Gun Free zones. Criminals and mad men target Gun Free zones because they know they are safe to do what they want and no one can defend them selfs. One more thing about Yellow Stone park I mentioned earlier. The facts state that on average at least one person is killed every year by bears in the park. So tree huggers and democrats, what do you do? Close the park so no ones else gets killed or do you kill all the bears or I know, we do what democrats and liberals would do, we should pass a law that makes it illegal for bears to kill people. That will take care of the problem. Good grief people! The word is not perfect and will never be perfect but let not make it worst. Nature is cruel and ever thing that lives will die in its time. That’s natures way to room for the next generation to have their time on earth. The quality of life is more important then the quantity and duration of life.

    As far as the plight of the elephants, don’t be fooled. They are far from endangered in the countries that allow hunting. Earlier this year I shot two elephants in Zimbabwe. One was one quota in the hunting concession I was in and one was a problem elephant that had been raiding a village about 200 K from were the hunting concession was. The elephants had been raiding a village to get to tier water supply breading down their cattle corral. When the villagers tried to run the elephants off, several villagers were killed. The PH I was with has killed more problem control elephants and lions for the government then he has with paying clients. Don’t be fooled that there are a lot of elephants being sport hunted, there is not. Cites only allows for a few hundred elephants to hunted and exports every year. Far more are killed by the government as problem animals or for meat to feed the rangers and local people. None of the elephants I shot went to waste. There were plenty of locals showing up to butcher the animal and they didn’t leave enough behind even for the vultures. Of all the villagers seeing the dead elephant, every one had a big smile on their face and were very glad to get the meat and be rid of the problem too. And yes, if you want to know. I did eat some elephant myself and I thought it was very much like beef. The hunting concession I was in had an over abundance of elephants and they were doing extensive damage to the environment. I seen areas as far as you see where they had every tree knocked down or broken with a pile of elephant dung every 20 feet or so. For those of you that don’t know, the average hunter pays around $30,000.00 US to hunt one elephant and the meat still belongs to the government!

    Another misconception that many non hunters have is the fact that most ethical modern hunters do not enjoy seeing an animal tie. It is always a sad thing to see. Hunters enjoy the sport of being outdoors, one with nature not killing. Hunting is a very important part of the survival and quality of life for many animals. Thank god for those people who enjoy hunting and will pay to do it so the rest of you that don’t want to hunt or contribute the large amount of money for the benefit of wild life don’t have too.

  • Stephen Palos

    Pure “non-consumptive” ecotourism? Pay the price!


  • R.D.Wayne Holloway

    Oh dear,oh dear……….what have they done !

  • Terry J. Black

    It is sad that so many lies have contributed to the end of sport hunting in these African countries. The North American model of conservation has proven itself over the last 125 years. The problem that we all have and need to address is the expansion or urban areas removing habitat that traditionally belonged to wildlife. True sport hunting has never caused a North American species of game animal to become extinct. In fact, numbers are much better now than any time in the last 150 years. I think the authors of this article are incredibly ignorant. The “value” of the last pride of lions is zero when people are poor because the value of the land for farming and industry is far greater. That is why the animals must be given an economic value that makes people willing to conserve them. It is a shame the world hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from the North American model of conservation, as it is the most successful program in the whole world. Preservation will never work – conservation is the key.

  • Mark

    Say whatever you want about the economics of hunting and how it affects the argument pro or con for conservation. I just want to put my two cents in and say that if a person derives pleasure from the act of killing another living creature, then that person is not someone that I would ever care to know. I can get on board with the idea of hunting for food, survival, or culling operations to keep herds of animals to manageable numbers, but if those engaged in such practices actually enjoy the kill itself, they’re sick in my mind, plain and simple. The problem I have with a lot of big game hunting in Africa is that it’s done by people who clearly find killing to be fun. Putting aside the reasons I’ve already mentioned, why would anyone want to take the life of an animal like an elephant? I was in Zimbabwe in 2011 on a photographic safari and I witnessed first hand a baby elephant born in the wild. It’s mother took it to join the herd that was waiting about 100 yards away and the rumblings of the other elephants welcoming in the new arrival and the emotions that were clearly present in them as their temporal glands oozed fluid, moved me to tears. These animals are amazingly sensitive and intelligent creatures that form very tight bonds with one another. I could never find it in myself to kill one of these creatures for the sake of sport and I cannot understand anyone that does.



  • Rudie

    I find it amusing that you hunters actually think that you are “controlling” the balance! Are there no limits to your arrogance?You are only in it for the huge profits. Real conservationists do not care about how much they can collect for a kill. If you guys really need to sharpen your skills, go to a shooting range. There are a lot of them about. Good on you, Mr Khama!

  • Bianca

    Killing an animal is sick, period.

  • Tyron

    The proof is in the pudding. I look forward to seeing if this approach will work. I think that it is way too early for the average man on the street to make any assumptions. Lets see how things stand in ten years from now. One thing is certain, the future will follow the money.

  • Sam

    As an African – I find it interesting that people from outside Africa have such strong opinions on our wildlife. Many of whom have never even travelled to the continent. I have personally served with police units and have removed snares, captured poachers and been at the sharp end of real world conservation.
    The contribution that hunting has made to wildlife is simply irrefutable. To use an American example look at the direct benefit that Ducks Unlimited has brought to the American duck populations and conservation. The issue is that the anti-hunting lobby argue from an emotive perspective and not a rational or economic one. Too many sweeping or baseless generalisations are made and forcing human sentiment onto the order of the natural world is an odd, and somewhat arrogant, thing to do. Many of the people so outraged by the notion of hunting and sustainable utilisation eat meat and utilise leather. The demand for these animals, via their consumption I might add, displaces indigenous wildlife. No one can argue that cattle and other livestock have displaced massive areas which would otherwise be home to indigenous animals. Why? Because of the economics behind it! Remember there is a clear difference between conservation and preservation. Conservation does not exclude responsible utilisation.
    Why don’t people mid their own business and let people hunt if that is what they want to do? All too often one sect of people tries to foist their views of morality onto another. No one forces people to hunt, but equally people should be left to hunt if they choose to do so. If you think they’re evil or choose not to associate with them, so be it; but leave their right to act on what they believe in to be good conservation alone. Personal freedom is more important than any conviction, however earnest it may be. Hunting in Africa, many of us view as an important part of our heritage. I believe the single biggest threat to African wildlife are well meaning but sadly misinformed conservationists who believe a lot of the emotionally charged rhetoric of the anti-hunting lobby; who in reality, would be out of a job as well as donor funding if the hysteria, misguidance and fundraising was tempered with a true understanding of the African wildlife situation. We love our wildlife and will always want it on the land however the laws of economics are unfortunately stronger than the laws of nature. Protecting wildlife through sustainable utilisation makes absolute sense to me.

  • WPO

    How many of you posting have spent time in any area of Africa and seen the hunger and poverty. Bush meat is big business and is obtained by poachers. Hunting in consevancies saves animals from poaching plus gives back large amounts of revenue to those conservancies. The safari operators pay huge sums to lease these areas and take on the task of keeping poachers out of the areas. They also invest in the local population putting money into helping the indiginous people have been water, health and education. I know I paid a large amount in fees that went to the tribe in the area I hunted. As an individual I have put over 40000 into conservation programs over the years and I am not a wealthy person but like the say, put my money where my mouth is. When those who don’t hunt begin to put there hard earned cash into conservation then they can earn the right to crtiicize the hunting community. Hunters are the true consevationist by ever means. They care for the animals, enjoy there time in nature, get to be one with nature and love all that GOD created. I find it interesting at all the name calling you anti hunters use in describing those who give all the money to protect animals in the wild so you don’t have to go to a Zoo to see a living creature.

  • Ares

    Good on the Jouberts. Too many pride male lions killed by stupid, ignorant American hunters. Well known fact that all the supposed conservation money ends up in Swiss banks and very little to the community. Tell me, all you so called coward hunters, have ya’ll ever shot a lion charging at you, or in the back, behind the shoulder, in the spine? You can’t because a lion can take a few rounds to the heart, rush for 30 yards and still kill you. Instead you shoot it over bait, from a “hide” hiding like the cowards that ya’ll are or in huge hunting parties so the idiot rich hunter doesn’t get killed and the PH steps in. Ha. Typical cowardice. All your high end telescopes and caliber cannot ensure a lion will drop with the first hit, so might as well shoot it as it wakes up from a slumber, or walks off, or when it’s feeding. True cowardice. How about you take on a lion, just you, get him to charge and then see who the superior hunter is? You have your shot, he has is.

  • Ares

    How come all that money that goes in conservation can’t erect one fence for cattle so they can be protected from lions. How come collared, research lions are shot in Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania? How come educated Africans can’t take the time to help educate and teach people to cultivate living in the wild. Help them. I know that many are taking the initiative and there is success. All those spectacular sums of money for a lion, show me the conservation aspect, where water lines are built, electricity, solar power for tribes, fences for protection against large carnivores. Proves nothing. One place will have it, ten others won’t because the money has vanished.. American hunters kill more lions in Tanzania, up to ten will disappear simply because a mane was not good enough. I have no issue with man-eaters and cattle killers, they eventually end up dead, poisoned or shot. People come first I understand, definitely. But cowardly hunters shooting them unaware, then grinning ridiculously as if the most, impossible feat was achieved – you can’t get lower than that. How much bravery and courage did it take? Does America allow rich Russians and Europeans to harvest 5000 bears, wolves, mountain lions and bison every year? Would a Russian be able to shoot 10 bears just because the previous ones were not trophy, legally or illegally in the U.S? All you pro-hunting types know nothing about conservation or true hunt.

  • milo

    Stop hunting wild animals!

  • Hylton Langley

    Well done Botswana. Well done Joubert´s.
    Tired of having agressive hunters attitudes rammed down our throats. My clients always are amazed of how close we come to animals in the KNP. No hunting is the reply, and the thrills of the close sightings are awesome. Sure a few are shot for different reasons, but no general hunting is allowed and I am so thankful.
    Why do hunters need to kill for pleasure. Testosterone and egos. You cannot even consume the meat as you cannot take it home. Bots will easily survive and be even more attractive for tourists and everyone benefits. Sorry hunters, move it up and good riddance.

  • Paul

    Everyone hates the hunter and the gun. Blame is placed at the feet of those whom hunt, but failure to see what decimates herds of Buffalo, lions, elephants, etc is agriculture! Bovine disease was spread from cattle to buffalo impacting their numbers like a plague. Buffalo do not reproduce fast enough to make up for this! Elephants and lions are killed to protect cattle and crops by government officials! Humans clear large areas of land of wild life and vegetation in the name of ranches and you people think this is a victory? I think this is a tragedy when you look at the millions of dollars generated by hunting every year. The lion, elephant, and buffalo now have a stated value, therefore they become a money generating commodity that is heavily protected as such. You take that value off the animal and there is less interest in catching and stopping poachers! Poaching and habitat destruction is the real crime, not legal and responsible hunting. I ask you, have you even bothered educating yourselves on the benefits of hunting wild animals, or were you too self righteous on your conservation soap box to actually look into the facts. Again, huge difference between hunting and poaching people!

  • LNCA

    The Jouberts will continue living THEMSELVES on Safari, in their Botswana heaven where once a hunting people existed.

    Not only have they robbed Botswana inhabitants of some of their land, but also their hunting culture, as this was always a hunting people.

    Now humans are not part of nature, they are APART of nature. Separating humans from the other animals is dooming the whats left of nature.

  • Bj

    Look at Kenye…. No hunting… Result: poaching, and wildlife dispears.
    Charity and photografi can not pay for the conservation.
    Unfortunately there is a lot of people who just think it is political correct not to hunt. They don’t know how much damage they do for the wildlife.

  • Ali

    How can the government of Botswana provide the expenses of wildlife conservation in this poor and arid country?
    Just charity! and Tourism. Do you think that it is enough?
    Most of the tourist like to go Tanzania to see most of Africa’s games in abundance.
    You are just providing better conditions for poachers.
    Just take a look at India and Kenya.
    The best model of conservation in the history of human being is the US. With the greatest number of sportsmen and games.
    I’m so sorry for this disaster.

  • callan payton

    well here you have it the typical elitist attitude of the know it all crusaders mposing there religious beliefs on everyone else ,and yes it is there religion, the heart of the matter is these people worship the creature rathere than the creator , you dont have to be religious to hunt ,but anti hunting for these crusader types is a religion. God told the apostle peter to arise ‘kill and eat”. God didnt mention making a salad.
    the sad thing is the distint difference in the hunter now days and the market hunters of yesteryear . those days are long gone.
    mr Joubert Im 61 yrs old and Ill challenge you to a trek anywhere the loser contributes to the winners cause. also I invite you to the Sci auction . we contribute big dollars to animal conservation. you may be responsible for lions coming into villages and dragging people off and elephans trampling peoples veggie gardens.

  • Ralph DiMaio

    Idiots! and wildlife suffers! Hunters protect endangered species, along with the conservation officers and professional guides. They don’t ean to lose their licenses and there are plenty of sustainable game to hunt! Butnow without hunters and the dollars they bring in and people they employ . The poachers get another country to pillage with no enforcement or hunters in the field theres no one to stop them . When the conservation officers find a rino in a bad area they bring it close to the hunters camps and within the concession because they know they are safe there!! Sad in 3-5 years Botrswans’s wildlife will be a memory.

  • aRcaNum

    I love the we conserve them by killing them argument. Do you think they need us? Remove people from the earth entirely and the animals will flourish and not miss us at all. Animals have been around long before us and they will be here when were gone as long as we don’t obliterate them all along with ourselves which is entirely possible. Bravo Botswana!

  • Pojo

    Why do so many people from the US think they have something to say about the wildlife of another country?

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