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Speciesism

October 29, 2020 - Focusing on Wildlife

BOTSWANA: From safaris to slaughter: Butchered for valuable horns, rhinos are among the tragic victims in a new poaching epidemic

BOTSWANA: From safaris to slaughter: Butchered for valuable horns, rhinos are among the tragic victims in a new poaching epidemic
White rhino by watering hole© Photabulous!

When Prince Harry was seeking to impress Meghan Markle in the early days of their courtship, he took her on a surprise trip to Botswana, the African country he used to call his ‘second home’.

There they celebrated her 36th birthday in a $2,000-a-night deluxe tent at the Meno a Kwena safari camp on the Okavango Delta, with spectacular views over the Boteti River, a popular watering hole for elephants.

Three years later, however, in the wake of the emergence of Covid-19, Botswana is in lockdown, its borders closed.

With the collapse of the tourist industry, locals in the area surrounding the safari camp have lost their livelihoods and a region once famed for its protection of big game is now a poachers’ paradise.

Map Ives, who set up Rhino Conservation Botswana with Harry as its patron in 2016, is in despair. ‘Donations are drying up and that means reduced anti-poaching patrols,’ he says. ‘We’ve lost six rhino shot by poachers since the pandemic. Botswana security forces have also shot five poachers dead in two other incidents.’

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