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Botswana Lifts 5-Year Ban on Hunting Elephants
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.
Botswana had banned elephant hunting in 2014 under the leadership of conservation-minded President Ian Khama, who opposed trophy hunting and also introduced a shoot-to-kill policy against poachers, The New York Times reported. But his successor, President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, convened a committee to reassess the ban after winning election in 2018.
The announcement prompted an outcry from conservationists and wildlife lovers around the world.
"The whole world is turning away from hunting. It is increasingly seen as an archaic practice. This is very, very damaging to the image of Botswana as a global leader in elephant conservation," Kenyan-based expert and activist Dr. Paula Kahumbu said, as The Guardian reported.
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Kristin Davis also spoke out against lifting the ban, according to The New York Times.
The government said the decision was based on a series of consultations with stakeholders including conservationists, impacted communities, tourism businesses, non-governmental organizations and researchers. The process had revealed the following arguments in favor of lifting the ban, the government said:
- There had been an increase in conflicts between humans and elephants.
- There had been an increase in the number of predators, who then killed livestock.
- The ban had harmed those who made a living from hunting before the ban was put in place.
- The Department of Wildlife and National Parks lacked the capacity to respond in a timely manner when animals did become dangerous.
Some have argued that hunting could also help conservation, the government said, because it would allow communities to benefit financially from the tourism it would attract.
Botswana-based wildlife veterinarian Erik Verreynne agreed with this assessment.
"Rural communities endure the cost of human-wildlife conflict yet are largely excluded from the income generated by tourist industries," he said. Reinstating hunting would help these communities to see value from protecting the elephants.
But Kahumbu disagreed that allowing hunting would help with the problems faced by rural Botswanans. She said that trophy hunters were unlikely to travel to smaller villages, and that the threat of being hunted would actually make elephants more dangerous.
Others saw the ban in more cynical terms, arguing it was an attempt by Masisi to appeal to voters ahead of an election later in the year.
"The party is losing votes rapidly and wants to increase its votes in the rural areas by allowing the hunting of elephants," Last Elephant author Don Pinnock told The New York Times. He said the elephants were "collateral damage."
The government did not release details of its plan but said that hunting would be introduced in an "orderly and ethical manner."
But Kahumbu found fault with the premise.
"There's no such thing as 'Ethical hunting'. It's an oxymoron," she tweeted.
African elephants are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List. There were once as many as 20 million elephants in Africa before European colonization, scientists estimate. But their numbers had fallen to 1.3 million by 1979, CNN reported. There are now about 415,000 on the continent, and more than 135,000 of them live in Botswana, The Guardian reported. In the past decade, their numbers in Africa have fallen by around 111,000 due to poaching for ivory.
Correction: This post has been revised to clarify that celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Kristin Davis spoke out against lifting the ban.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.