The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to strongly condemn the falsehoods appearing in the Dutch newspaper, Trouw, following an interview with Former President, Lt. General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama. The Ministry wishes to set the record straight that the prudent management of the country’s natural resources, including wildlife, is based on legislation, policies and strategies that are consistent with sustainable development and international standards. As such, Botswana has earned international accolades for her sterling efforts to conserve and manage the country’s wildlife resources. Disarmament of Department of Wildlife and National Parks Anti-Poaching Unit: The decision to temporarily disarm the Anti-poaching Unit was taken with the view to put enact appropriate law which will permit the Department to carry firearms. This process is still ongoing and will be concluded in the near future. Meanwhile, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks undertakes anti-poaching activities in collaboration with other security agencies allowed by the law to carry firearms. Rhinos: The re-introduction of rhinos into the wild began in 2002 before the term of office of Former President, Khama. The number of rhinos has been increasing since then. While it is true that Botswana has been affected by rhino poaching over the last few years, it should be acknowledged that the several key rhino range states in the region have also suffered a surge in rhino poaching. Lifting of the hunting moratorium: It is a fact that Botswana has the largest number of elephants in the world and that they are overpopulated causing environmental stress and human-wildlife conflict in some parts of the country. In order to mitigate the overpopulation, Government in consultation with affected communities lifted the hunting moratorium. [Signed] FOR/ PERMANENT SECRETARY
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