Summer Student blog and campaign: Why you have to care about elephants in Botswana

August 25, 2022

     By Duncan Green     

Last but not least in this summer series of posts from my LSE activism class, Jonathan Swinney (full project on which this post is based here)

When I think about elephants, my mind wanders off to Dumbo – a fictional elephant loved by millions around the world. In 1941, some people thought we would never see him again. But he came back and we did – his legacy lives on. However, unfortunately unlike Dumbo, many elephants in Botswana are never going to be coming back. This is because they are instead being killed ruthlessly all across the country. If the killing of these mammals continues in the future, elephants will be something of the past…

Are you going to stand by and let that happen? No, of course not! I hope that this blog informs you on why you should even bother caring in the first place and the ways that you can help! So sit back, relax and then take action!

The elephant ancestry spans over 55 million years – they have been on our planet for a very long time! But now their existence is being threatened by humans leading to the African savannah elephant being put on the IUCN Red List. In simple terms, this basically means they are at risk of not existing on planet earth.

So why does all this matter?

Ensuring that elephants are protected and not killed is beneficial for multiple reasons. The species get to live and thrive whilst also creating a much better future for Botswana and its people.

The ‘Save Our Elephants’ campaign (SOE) includes forward-thinking rural communities, conservationists, wildlife biologists and NGOs. They are working towards protecting elephants and doing their best to get loud across the country. It has the ultimate aim of protecting elephant life and promoting other ways to manage the high elephant numbers rather than killing them.

What are the opportunities?

People visiting elephants is a huge source of revenue in Botswana with tourists paying thousands of dollars to see these mammals in real life. But with the country deciding to make it easier to kill elephants, it will lead to fewer tourists visiting and threaten the jobs and livelihoods of local people from rural communities.

To fix this, making it illegal to kill elephants in any circumstance and using alternative methods to manage high elephant numbers is the way forward.

Doing this will mean the industry and livelihoods are sustained whilst also protecting the lives of elephants. I mean, who would want to see a baby elephant killed in cold blood? (P.S. look over to your right, its adorable)

So, what are the choices?

Botswana has come to a fork in the road and there are some possible future scenarios:

1) Make an effort to protect elephants which will then help the tourism sector and sustain the livelihoods of many locals in the country.

2) Do nothing about protecting elephants, push them closer to extinction and put the livelihoods of thousands of people in all parts of Botswana at threat.

How can you help?

You have got to show your support and help us get loud!

This can be done by sharing the SOE campaign and a picture of yourself holding an A4-sized sheet of paper with #SaveOurElephants written on it (you don’t have to include your face!).

Let’s take control of this situation and make a difference.

Here are a few links if you want to read more in-depth articles on the topic:

August 25, 2022
Duncan Green