By Rhishja Cota-Larson
The bodies of at least 19 elephants have reportedly been found in Botswana’s Kasane area, near the country’s borders with Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. According to Botswana’s Mmegi Online, the elephants all had their tusks removed. The killings are believed to have occurred over the last five weeks, following the shooting of two suspected ivory traffickers by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
Ever since the July shooting of two Namibian poachers, our anti-poaching officers have found 15 carcasses of elephants with tusks removed.
Four more dead elephants missing their tusks were discovered this week, says BDF Commander Lieuetenant General Gaolathe Galebotswe.
The suspects had apparently used a canoe to cross into Botswana from Namibia, and were “shot along the Chobe River in the Ihaha area.” Police believe they were “looking to kill elephants or rhinos without licences”.
Galebotswe explained that the elephant massacre is carried out using “sophisticated methods” and he recommends that the army respond in kind to the onslaught.
He added that the BDF is challenged by departures of non-commissioned officers and professionals such as doctors, nurses, and engineers who are able to find higher salaries and flexible working conditions outside the army.
Ivory trafficking has been linked to terrorism and global insecurity; the topic was discussed earlier this year at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Meeting.