Botswana hits back at critics on anti-poaching policy

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Botswana’s president says criticism of his government’s anti-poaching policy is “nothing but hysteria,” following reports that poachers are killing more elephants in a country with Africa’s biggest elephant population.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says any suggestion of a link between a rise in elephant poaching in Botswana and the “alleged disarmament” of the national wildlife department is illogical.

Elephants Without Borders, a conservation group, says results from an ongoing elephant census indicate poaching has surged. It says the spike coincides with the disarming of anti-poaching units.

Botswana says all security agencies engage in anti-poaching efforts and that there has been no “vacuum” due to the “withdrawal of weapons” from the wildlife department. The weapons in question are military issue, a government official has said.

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