BOTSWANA’S ELEPHANTS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     10th April 2024        
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Context: Recently, Botswana's President issued a threat to send 20,000 elephants to Germany.

Elephants Population in Botswana

  • About: Botswana, unlike its neighbors, has been a safe haven for elephants due to its stable government and small human population.
  • Impact of Conflict in Neighboring Countries: Conflict-spurred mass poaching in Namibia and Angola led elephants to halt crossing the Chobe river, favoring the safety of Botswana instead.
  • Implementation of Strict Conservation Policies: Botswana implemented strict conservation policies, including a 'shoot-to-kill' policy against suspected poachers and a ban on trophy hunting, contributing to elephant protection.
  • Steady Increase in Elephant Population: Due to these measures, the elephant population in Botswana has steadily increased over the years, from fewer than 10,000 in the early 1960s to around 80,000 by the mid-1990s.


  • About: It is officially known as the Republic of Botswana, is situated in Southern Africa.
  • Bordering Countries: Botswana shares its borders with South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast.
  • Connectivity: The Kazungula Bridge connects Botswana to Zambia, marking the world's shortest border between two countries.

Why have elephants become an issue for Botswana?

  • Human-Elephant Conflict Escalation: Botswana's increasing elephant population has sparked a surge in human-animal conflicts, as reported by media outlets.
  • Biodiversity Threat: The large elephant population jeopardizes other species, leading to biodiversity loss and habitat degradation.
  • Habitat Destruction: Elephants contribute to habitat degradation by tearing down trees for fodder, impacting the ecosystem's balance.
  • Water Consumption Impact: The substantial water consumption by elephants not only affects local water sources but also potentially reduces water availability for non-elephant wildlife, leading to further decline in their populations.
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