Professional hunters lose licences for killing research elephant

Botswana cancelled the license of two professional hunters who shot dead a research elephant.

Botswana lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May, citing growing conflict between humans and the animals.

However the elephant, which was shot last month, had been collared – giving it protected status as a research elephant.

The number of elephants in Botswana is estimated to be about 130,000.

Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp had voluntarily surrendered their hunting licences, a government statement said.

“The period of the surrender of Mr Potter’s license is indefinite while Mr Sharp’s license will be surrendered for a period of three years with immediate effect.”

The two men have also been ordered to replace the elephant’s destroyed collar, the government said.

It is not clear how the elephant’s collar was damaged.

According to an earlier government statement, the hunters said they had not seen the collar because “the elephant was in a full-frontal position”.

“Once the animal was down, they realised it had a collar on it placed for research purposes.”

Reuters reported that the two men had destroyed the collar in an attempt to hide the evidence.

Last June Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi set up a committee to review the hunting ban imposed by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014.

In February, the committee recommended allowing hunting again.