Dozens of Elephants Have Been Killed in the Five Months Since Internationally Acclaimed Anti-Poaching Unit Was Disarmed, PETA Says
For Immediate Release:
September 6, 2018
David Perle 202-483-7382
Gaborone, Botswana – Today, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk sent an urgent letter to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi urging him to act immediately to reverse the disarming of Botswana’s anti-poaching unit, pointing out that since military weapons and equipment were withdrawn from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in May, nearly 90 elephants and five white rhinoceroses have been slaughtered by heavily armed poachers.
“With its ban on trophy hunting and its internationally applauded anti-poaching efforts, Botswana was once a haven for animals—but no more,” says Newkirk. “PETA is urging President Masisi to give the country’s anti-poaching unit the equipment it once had and now needs in order to protect the elephants who call Botswana home.”
In its letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that the international outcry against disarming the anti-poaching unit could have a negative impact on tourism to Botswana, which is also considering weakening the ban on trophy hunts. After Cecil the lion was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer, tourism to Zimbabwe dropped significantly.
PETA’s letter to President Masisi is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.