Botswana will not issue any more hunting licenses!

Botswana’s president Ian Khama has announced that the government will no longer issue licenses for hunting wild animals in the country.

In a progressive move to protect the country’s natural heritage and the tourism industry, he said that the government of Botswana, through the Environment and Wildlife Ministry, would stop issuing hunting licenses as of next year.

In the address to locals in Maun (the spring-board town to the popular Okavango Delta), Khama said that the issuing of hunting licenses has fueled poaching in the country and prevented the tourism industry from growing sustainably and significantly.

The Okavango Delta, home to a remarkable diversity of animals, plants and birds, attracts thousands of visitors from a round the world each year. It’s Africa’s largest wetland wilderness.

Hunting concessions are currently operated within the delta, as well as in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve further south.

Khama made clear that tourism is increasingly important for Botswana and contributes at least 12 percent to the overall GDP of the country.

“Our wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit,” said Khama.

Report compiled from China Daily

Africa Geographic Editorial

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

  • Guest

    Ian Karma is a man of huge integrity and vision. I wish he was my president!

  • Simon Espley

    Ian Khama is a man of huge integrity and vision. I wish he was my president!

    • He understands. Hopefully it is continue.

    • andywassung

      I agree. He really is incredible. Have you heard the story about how he dressed in disguise and queued for hours watching and observing his government employees at a home affairs branch. Then when he got to the front of the queue he stopped the proceedings of everyone in the room and fired all the people with attitude and lethargic disorder on the spot. I think it was home affairs but could’ve been a border post. Go Khama!

  • Rhyan

    So impressed Botswana is the place to visit and invest awesome news will see your country very soon

    • jewel

      u wont regret visiting bots……beatiful fauna n flora n friendly nation.

  • Eric

    This is really going to harm local communities who live off the sale of those licenses. What does he propose to do for these folks?

    • Simon Espley

      From tourism. Compared to hunting, tourism generates more revenue, creates more jobs, more capital investment, more upskilling – forever.

      • Simon, those numbers just do not add up!!!

      • Patrick Fletcher

        Post those figures and maybe someone might believe you

    • You scare me!

  • Jane

    I am not a fan of hunting however it provides an important income to many communities in Botswana. With a ban on hunting, conflict between wildlife and humans will skyrocket and the Department of Wildlife (which was already underfunded but relied on monies from hunting permits) will not be able to deal with all the new conflict with a lowered budget. Why can’t Khama’s government consider allowing hunting permits only for those animals that would be culled anyway due to overpopulation/conflict with humans? There are enough of those problem animals to support a great number of hunters.

    • Hi Jane, elephants come in to conflict with humans everywhere. This should not be the basis for whether they live or die. Understanding how elephants live, they way they travel between water sources and food, is the best way to plan for and decrease the human animal conflict.

      Hunting is not the solution to conservation. And never will be.

      • Thank you. Well said.

      • Paul, with the current ban on culling in the Kruger National park, Elephant are breaking out into Mozambique. The communities in Mozambique has been living a quiet and peacefull life for years and now suddenly a new problem. Human/animal conflict. You can not move communities who has been in the area for years. They grow crops, the Elephants destroy it. They chase the Elephant and they get injured or killed by aggresive animals. The only way to sort out this issue is by PAC (problem animal control) or controlled hunting. Once a killer, always a killer. We have been involved in a couple of incidents where Lion goes into town and attack people. As close as suburbs in Maputo. Kruger Park might deny these alligations, I’ve got pictures of tagged and satellite tracking collars on animals from Kruger Park way into Mozambique. This means all people between Maputo and Kruger Park must move, alternative is to fence off these animals. Then we stop the culling, hunting and PAC, how long before this issue comes up again? The old migration routes are gone, years ago they were fenced of. The last fences was the Kruger park in the 60’s. We created a problem and we must manage it. Keep the numbers down and keep within the equilibrium of our habitats.
        It is not happening at the moment in Kruger and this causes the conflict outside it’s borders. Botswana is not complaining about hunting, it is poaching. Poaching is again a big issue in Botswana like it use to be in the 70’s. Stopping the hunting industry will not stop poaching. There was a time that cocaine was legal, now it is not. Did it stop the trade?

        Sir Seretsi Khama knew how to fight poaching in Botswana, they must go back to the drawing boards.

        • Simon Espley

          Jaco you’re drawing convenient conclusions from all sorts of disperate issues. Your essay makes no sense, unless you’re a hunter who really just wants to have more animals to shoot at.

        • Hi Jaco. Thanks for your message. However, you are using the Kruger National Park as an example to prove your point. So you will need to focus on Bots for this one.

          Botswana still has elephant corridors, unfenced wild areas and trans frontier parks – opening up massive tracts of land for wildlife to roam. Attempting to sort out problem animals and overpopulation of eles and other wildlife in these area via hunting methods will solve nothing.

          Education, community involvement, jobs provided from eco-tourism and anti-poaching policing are the way to go.

          There’s no world in which you can justify killing the animals you are trying to save to solve a problem of killing them by other illegal means.

          • Paul this needs your attention to detail. seeing as you know the issues, explain briefly what percentage of current hunting parties to Botswana are tourists?

            What is the current income from hunting?

            what is the estimated income from nature based tourism (excluding hunting and parties connected with hunters) ?

            What is the current expenditure on maintaining hunting infrastructure?

            what is the estimated cost in establishing your tourism market?

            what is the expected expenditure to maintain the current tourism trade associated with the hunting industry within Botswana?

            What is the expected expenditure to establish the tourism infrastructure that would be associated with non hunting establishments.

            How large will the economic losses associated with the drop in visitor numbers to the rural areas of Botswana be, and how did you establish these numbers.

            As with the 4×4 ban along the South African coast there will be very serious economic losses associated with the ban on hunting in Botswana.

            this paper by KZN tourism discusses these losses, about 20 000 job losses were attributed to the 4×4 ban along the elephant Coast, which is a tiny section in the extreme north east of KZN. Other areas lost an awful lot more, but no real studies have ever been undertaken.

            I believe that the impact of this hunting ban in Botswana will make these economic losses look like a bargain sale. The tourism associated with hunting has never been examined and quantified, and the expected income from tourism that is not associated with hunting will not reach the people on the ground, because THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO ATTRACT A LARGE TOURISM MARKET. Also take into account that this market is very competitive with the rest of Africa competing aggressively for these prospective NON HUNTING tourists.

            Please think this through clearly and pass some meaningful comment.

      • andywassung

        I particularly agree with you on the last part Paul. Conservation and Hunting, although they seem to economically compliment each other in some small, well managed concessions, are two different fights of the human mind. The mindset that we are better than the animal (the very mindset you act on when you put it in your scope and pull the trigger) is the problem. It creates the belief that we are supreme and above the law of mother nature. It takes a Tsunami or Hurricane Sandy to humbly remind us that we are just pawns in the system. Hunting is right there with poaching. Yes they are different in that one is supposedly managed and legal, and the other isn’t…but how does that make poaching so much worse than hunting. If anything…the poor guy living on the outskirts of the Kruger is ethically higher than your wealthy hunter as far as I’m concerned. The former kills the rhino to make a buck, to feed his family for a few more days…the latter kills for a trophy on his wall, for sport. Hunting for sport is ridiculously arrogant and self-centred. I understand that to walk in the bush and put your boot down next to fresh buffalo crap and let it’s scent flow through your blood as you pull up your scope and squeeze the trigger…is a rush. Understandably men have lost a part of “the hunter” deep in their souls without choice and need to prove themselves, now with metal and gunpowder. But what about the exhilaration of walking through the bush, smelling the dung, tracking the beast…and just appreciating the beast, the scene, the wild..for what it is…merely there. Appreciating the horns on the head of an alive Kudu,…knowing you left it there to eat, left it there for someone else to admire on another day.

        • Andrew I like what you have to say, but you paint only a small piece of the picture. If we are to eat meat, how is this possible if the animal is never killed? I am not a VEGAN and do not want to change my life style. I understand that for me to eat meat an animal must die. So how is this animal slaughtered? In a slaughter house / butchery / abattoir ?

          Hunters kill their prey for many different reasons, very few are for trophies and most animals hunted in Botswana are hunted for their meat and the skins are used locally for a variety of arts and crafts products. once this source of income dries up how do you propose that the local population sustain themselves economically?

          Tourism income is reserved for the very wealthy, those who own land, and have the capital resources to build lodges. this will exclude 99 % of the Botswana population and place a large portion of the income into foreign hands, excluding the Botswana locals from the loop.

          Currently the hunters who visit Botswana do not travel alone, but with a hunting party, who are in true essence tourists. These tourists will not visit the area if the hunters do not visit, as they are the hunters travel companions. Where will your proposed tourists come from? and what incentives will they have to visit Botswana?
          This proposed ban on hunting is a very bad environmental decision that will have a negative impact on thwe Botswana economy.

    • Guest

      As controversial as this subject is, I welcome the news.

    • ????? You are confused

    • AKool

      Conflict between man and wildlife will only increase if we humans keep encroaching on their habitats. Lots of villages cropped up over past 50 years where wildlife corridors used to be. The results were predictable. The animals were used to those paths for centuries and now suddenly humans come and take it over and claim that they are suffering from wildlife.

    • Marcus

      Jane, i’ve filmed a lot of hunting in tanzania, I am not a hunter myself but have witnessed both the blood lust and corruption that hunting brings with it, i have witnessed also the suffering that many wounded animals go through, often taking hours to track down and finish off, all the while the animal is suffering unbelievable pain, just so someone can have a bit of sport… there’s no justification for sport hunting anywhere, its just morally wrong. I do appreciate that some problem animals have to be shot, and human/wildlife conflict is a real issue, but hunting doesn’t take out the problem animals, these also get shot, hunting takes out the best male genes affecting the long term stability of animal populations.

      • Patrick Fletcher

        So you are filming hunting to make money so my question would be, why are you profiting from it if you are so against it?

  • I welcome this initiative. As controversial as it is, wild animals should be left alone. I am obviously against hunting as I believe it is cruel. Let nature take care of nature.

  • AKool

    Yay! Time for other nations to follow suit.

  • audiodoc

    FINALLY some hint of sanity. Thank you and Kudos to the Botswana Gov’t. Please use your influence to make this country wide!

  • Brenda

    As an avid animal lover, I don’t condone hunting and killing any animals…….ever

  • Margaret Murray

    This is a wonderful piece of news and I’m so happy to read it this morning as a respite from all the wreckage of the Sandy Hurricane on the East Coast of United States. I applaud the Botswana government. You are showing the rest of Africa and the world the way toward true environmental health. Thank you for saving our animals.

  • luz

    Remove the previous hunting license !!!!

  • Following Kenya’s lead. Well done President Khama!

    • Marthin Fick

      and what happened in kenya?
      As soon as the hunting and the money from it stopped, there were less game rangers, less professional hunters that had to ensure these animals were there or the hunters wouldnt come. Poaching exploded. For sure Botswana will change into a new Kenya…. watch the results……

      • Not true. Little money was ever spent on conservation in the country and a good majority was paid into foreign accts before hunters arrived for their expeditions. Rampant poaching occured as a result of disgruntled former hunters and others with influence assisting in poaching wild animals on a high scale. Kenya will become better, wait and see. All without hunting being allowed. 😀

  • dianelionlover

    awesome news ! they are finally waking up !

  • richw9090

    Hunting is absolutely critical to the economy of many African nations, and it is absolutely critical to the prreservation of endangered species. Without wildlife management for sustainable use, there will be no money available in those countries for conservation, and no incentive for the locals to control poaching, which is NOT increased by legal, regulated hunting. The President of Botswana may sincerely believe that what he is doing is right, but it is not based on any scientifically valid information, and it almost certainly dooms the animals in that country to extinction.

  • BSzasz

    Bravo Botswana!!! And a special wave to the folks on the cams at Pete’s Pond, where people the world over watch wildlife and realize how precious these creatures are. Since 1950, there are 5 times as many people on the African continent, and 1/5 as many elephants. I wouldn’t characterize it as elephants conflicting with humans, I’d say it is the human population needs some restrictions.

  • What a sad sad day for wildlife in Botswana. If they did the real math, I bet that the hunting concessions provide for a serious part of the tourism dollars that are coming into Botswana. Now that the value of animals is all started at zero, the local bush meat poachers will be running rampant and poaching will actually increase within the borders of Botswana.

  • SeanH

    Thank you for stepping up and doing the right thing President Khama!

  • too bad

    expect poaching to sky rocket… more so than it already has. Spend some time in the bush, and see animals dragging around wire on a rotten hoof, or cut into the skin on their neck. Hunting took very few animals, but kept 1000’s more safe from snares. Kenya is hardly the model for wildlife conservation. Critters will be dropping dead left and right.

    • Kenya has banned hunting since 1977. Right move and i was there when this was enacted. Poaching is done by persons often who are provided weapons by organised crime syndicates and even professional hunters are involved and this has been proven over and over many times. This is now a reason Hillary Clinton yesterday requested the US Intel organisations to use their resources in stopping poaching and illegal animal parts smuggling and trade. Hunting for pleasure is not an african trait nor culture. Its is selfish barberic show of ego and low manlihood if you have to hunt an animal to feel good. Bravo to President Khama and Botswana. More african countries need to follow his example.

  • Gerrie Camacho

    Botswana is surely a SUPER JEWEL in the wildlife experiences in Africa. as a matter of fact, the country has an overall fantastic governance which has very successfully managed to keep most areas fairly pristine. one of the key factors is the inaccessibility to most pristine areas, which means the concept of “High Yield, Low Impact” works well for all the special areas. But, should these areas be more accessible via vehicle and cost, it will surely mean the slow death of one of the greatest jewels of nature… Human pressure… President Khama always has good reason to make certain informed decisions. even should he allow hunting in certain areas again, I trust his judgement. It would have been great if other African countries can learn from him.. I want to salute a great man!!

  • Y Pietersen

    President Khama you are the best leader in Africa in all your decisions, thank you May Botswana grow from strength to strength God Bless xxxx

  • chiara sibona

    Great news!! I hope to visit Okavango Delta very soon!!

  • Anna-marie Horsefield

    Thank you President Ian Khama-and your Goverment, for taking the decision not to issue anymore hunting licenses in Botswana as from 2013. We salute you. Thank you ‘Causes’, for making us aware of our responsibility to protect this world,it’s people, it’s animals and nature.

  • OneMoreGeneration

    This is what the rest of Africa should do. Also, check out this amazing Rhino Campaign started by two elementary students in an effort to save Rhinos from extinction.

    They have received almost 300 letters from all over the world so far and their goal is to collect 1,000 by the end of the year. If successful, they will personally travel to SA to hand deliver the letters to President Zuma. Please send your letters today 😉

  • Sands

    Banning hunting in Botswana is a disaster for the wildlife there.

  • John

    Wish South Africa would revoke all Rhino hunting licenses immediately. The revenue generated does not nearly justify the threat to the species. Does Botswana still permit culling I wonder?

  • Hennie Andbob

    wish the ban could be immediate.a last minute dash to slaughter all in sight might happen.But thank you president Khama,for taking this initiative.

  • audiodoc

    thank you so much President Khama. The world needs to follow your brave decision to help save these amazing animals

  • it’s a wonder news

  • Colin

    Unbelievable how well meaning people are killing wildlife, and they are proud of it. Another country’s wildlife bites the dust. This will have exactly the opposite effect to that intended.

    A very sad day for Botswana’s wildlife.

  • Raphi Traceur Eitelberg

    Well done Botswana! Much better job than South Africa’s government…
    Definitely hope to visit some time soon in my life.

  • Tamara (Italy)

    Great decision Mr President! You’ll see how many more people will visit your country now!

    • Tamara – please think clearly without the impact of Post traumatic distress order caused by emotional black mail distributed by the anti hunting fraternity. Hunting sustains a very big industry, much bigger than you are told about. Many hunters bring along a hunting party (who are all tourists) and removing these hunting parties will have a very serious impact on the economy of Botswana. These hunters associates that accompany the hunters as part of the hunting party are the people who

      1) support the arts and crafts
      2) support lodges, camp sites, hotels and other accommodation facilities
      3) support the many NPO’s and GNO’s that do community work
      4) support many rural schools and community out reach projects

  • Glenda Harper

    high 5 for Botswana….i will be visiting u for sure.

  • This is just a disgusting political “captatio benevolentiae”, If Botswana really want to protect its wildlife should instead bring down its cattle veterinary fences that killed tens of thousand animals cutting their migratory paths, with more than 90% of wildebeest and hartebeest gone thanks to them. (An estimated 50,000 to 80,000 wildebeest alone died along the Kuke Veterinary Fence in northern Botswana during early 1980s). This move will only bring more unemployment making poaching more likely and is not sure if the new tour operators that will substitute hunting firms will still provide anti-poaching units, provided that they will establish tourism operations in all such isolated areas without tarmac roads and lodges were hunting used to take place.

  • Patrick Fletcher

    Take a look at the October National Geographic pg 44 and see the map, now if you look at southern Africa where most of the hunting takes place, you will notice it is the area with the lowest incidences of elephant poaching… Ban Hunting in Botswana and you will increase poaching it is that simple.

  • In the article it says that tourism accounts for 12 percent of Botswana’s income.

    QUESTION ? what percentage of this tourism income is directly associated with hunting and those who tag along with the hunter because of the “BUSH EXPERIENCE” that only comes with hunting?

    How does the Botswana Governement propose this be counter acted?

  • Ian

    Well done Botswana…great news!!!

  • Jake

    I am not a hunter and have no wish to hunt but he has made a big mistake here. Hunting brings in money and provides jobs. The real problem facing Botswana’s wildlife arise from a rapidly expanding human population and also the old diehards of bribery and corruption. Let us wish Botswana’s fabulous wildlife a fond farewell – its headed for the pot.

  • Africanhunter

    Botswana can kiss my A$$! I would not go there for free now!

  • That is so awesome! Botswana has more smarts than South Africa! I am campaigning to get lion hunting, including the awful practice of canned hunting (where lions are bred and shot in cages/small enclosures) banned in South Africa. Please sign my petition and watch my video for more information:

    Petition link:

    Killing Our Kings link:

    Thank you so much!

  • Lisa

    Such positive news!

Okavango Walking Chiefs Island
Africa Geographic