Hunters Banned in Botswana After Shooting and Killing Research Elephant
The death echoes the infamous killing of "Cecil the Lion" by an American hunter in Zimbabwe in 2015, Reuters pointed out. Cecil was also a research animal who was supposed to be off limits to hunters. The incident also comes around six months after Botswana lifted a five-year ban on the hunting of elephants.
"We wish to re-assure the public that the Ministry will work with the hunting industry to ensure that the necessary ethical standards are upheld at all times," the Botswana government wrote in a statement Saturday.
The statement identified the hunters as Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp. Potter is a professional hunter while Sharp held a citizen's hunting license, the government said in an earlier statement. Saturday's statement said the two hunters had voluntarily surrendered their hunting licenses to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Sharp's suspension will last three years while Potter's is indefinite. The two hunters will also replace the collar.
Neither Reuters nor BBC News could determine the hunters' nationalities, and neither was able to obtain a comment from the two men.
The government first announced the news of the killing on Friday. It said that the incident occurred Nov. 24 in a controlled hunting area, and that the hunters claimed not to have seen the collar.
"They allege that one of the bulls approached them and they shot at it. The professional hunter claimed that the collar was not visible as the elephant was in a full-frontal position. Once the animal was down, they realized it had a collar on it placed for research purposes," the statement said.
"The government should investigate this incident and send a strong message to professional hunters. His license should also be revoked," Fitt said at the time.
When Botswana lifted its elephant hunting ban, it said it would put quotas in place for certain areas and issue around 400 licenses a year. It said the decision was made because of an increase in conflict between elephants and humans, BBC News explained. Elephants can damage crops and sometimes kill people if they enter farms or villages.
But conservationists spoke out against lifting the ban, and some argued that hunting would only stress elephants and make them more dangerous to humans.
Almost one third of Africa's elephants live in Botswana, according to The Independent. In the country, the number of elephants has risen from 80,000 in the late 1990s to 130,000 today. But elephants on the rest of the continent have not been so lucky. Their numbers have fallen from more than one million in 1980 to slightly more than 300,000. This is mostly due to poaching for ivory. Around 40 elephants are killed for it every day.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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