According to a recent report from The New York Times, a trophy hunting ban in Botswana has left the village of Sankuyo open to intrusions from wild animals.
Unlike the deer and fowl that 38 million Americans hunt every year, though, these villagers are subjected to invasions from lions and elephants. The wildlife have been consuming the village’s resources, including crops and livestock.
Though the hunting ban was meant to protect local wildlife, it has led to an excess of wild animals in surrounding villages. As a result, villagers have had to flee to their homes after dusk, fearing possible harm from these animals.
Jimmy Baitsholedi Ntema, a Sankuyo native, remembered a time where things were more balanced between hunting and preservation.
“Before, when there was hunting, we wanted to protect those animals because we knew we earned something out of them,” he told reporters. “Now we don’t benefit at all from the animals. The elephants and buffaloes leave after destroying our plowing fields during the day. Then, at night, the lions come into our kraals.”
“Luckily in the U.S. these problems are rare and are mostly caused by hungry bears getting into coolers in camp sites,” says Paul Kabalin, President, Engel Coolers. “There are many coolers that have the ability to lock shut with pad locks and keep bears out. In many parks, coolers that are not bear resistant are not even allowed in, and if they are, they have to be strung high up in a tree when not in use. If bears get into coolers they become problem bears and either have to be relocated or killed.”
Movements to banish trophy hunting have increased since the American dentist killed Cecil the lion earlier this year. Even airlines have boycotted transporting trophies from these kinds of hunt, and New Jersey recently implemented legislation that would restrict the import of these trophies into the U.S.
Other African countries, like Zambia, firmly support trophy hunting, and their minister of tourism, Jean Kapta, had this to say:
“Zambia has always hunted from time immemorial. Zambia is a sovereign nation, and therefore people should respect the rules we have in our country.”
William Moalosi of Sankuyo was left without a job by the hunting bans. But his discontent with unemployment pales in comparison to his more mortal fears.
“We are living in fear since lions and leopards now come into our village,” Moalosi said. “Elephants cross the village to go to the other side of the bush. The dogs bark at them. We just run into our houses and hide.”