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Botswana lifts ban on elephant hunting in plan to manage population

Elephants, Botswana, Africa (Photo by Marka/UIG via Getty Images)

The ban was imposed in 2014 (Picture: Getty Images)

Botswana, home to almost a third of Africas elephants, has lifted its ban on big game hunting.

It is thought the southern African country has around 130,000 elephants, but lawmakers say the number is much higher.

They claim this causes problems for small-scale farmers living and working in the area.

The Environment Ministry say the government will make sure the reinstatement of hunting is done in an orderly and ethical manner, in accordance with the law and regulations.

But it is likely the subject will spark further debate in the country, with critics arguing that it could harm the population of elephants and damage tourism.

MASHATU, BOTSWANA - JULY 26: A herd of elephants at the Mashatu game reserve on July 26, 2010 in Mapungubwe, Botswana. Mashatu is a 46,000 hectare reserve located in Eastern Botswana where the Shashe river and Limpopo river meet. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

They have been known to damage farmers crops (Picture: Getty Images)

The number of elephants in Botswana has almost tripled since 1991, causing conflict with farmers who say the animals destroy their crops.

Elephants have also been known to tear down trees, harming the ecosystem and sometimes even killing villagers.

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Reports claim that hunting wont meaningfully reduce the number of elephants, but income from the sport could benefit communities in areas where the animals live.

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Where the practice is legal, the average elephant hunt costs upwards of £30,000.

But former President Ian Khama said the move would instead damage tourism, which accounts for a fifth of the countrys economy, Bloomberg reports.

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