Botswana – -( It is critical that the Conservation Conversation always include people as much as it does wildlife. This was the overarching message from Botswana Minister of Environment Natural Resources and Conservation and Tourism Onkokame Kitso Mokalla during today's press conference on lifting the five-year suspension on hunting in that country.

Since the moratorium on hunting in Botswana's government and community areas, Mokalla says that populations of key species have expanded beyond traditional ranges and into areas where they have never been seen before. An escalation in human-wildlife conflicts is only one consequence of that expansion. A less quantifiable result is that communities that were previously conservation minded have become almost anti-wildlife.

“We thank the President of Botswana and all others involved in Botswana for their forward thinking and having the courage to bypass doing what is easy in order to do what is right for the benefit of the wildlife of Botswana and the people of Botswana,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “Botswana's wisdom in this matter is a valuable example for the entire world. They need to be able to manage their own wildlife so that there WILL be more wildlife in wild places in harmony with the people for generations to come.”

Prior to the hunting suspension, communities felt they were part of the effort to manage and maintain wildlife. However, the decision to suspend hunting was made without the participation or input of the people living with wildlife.

Without the benefits of income from hunting, jobs in the hunting industry and meat derived from hunting, communities lost their commitment to wildlife. They now view wildlife as the property and responsibility of the government.

With the increased destruction of agriculture, lost grazing areas for cattle and the

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