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MAUN, Botswana - Botswana President Ian Khama said on Sunday the government will no longer issue licenses for hunting wild animals in a move aimed at protecting the fauna of the country from distinction.
Khama revealed this when addressing residents of the resort township of Maun in the northwestern part of the country during a public gathering.
He said effective next year, the government of Botswana through the Environment and Wildlife Ministry will stop issuing hunting licenses to protect the tourism industry.
He said issuing hunting licences has fuelled poaching in the Southern African state and impeding Botswana's tourism industry from contributing significantly to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Tourism has been an increasingly important industry in Botswana, accounting for almost 12 percent of GDP.
There are two major hunting areas in Botswana, the Okavango Delta and the central region of Kalahari (the Central Kalahari Game Reserve).
The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. It is home to a very diverse animal population. Thousands of elephants, considerable herds of Cape buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, lions and leopards are all found in this region. The Okavango Delta is also home to an incredible variety of birds.
Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve also offers good game viewing and some of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness in southern Africa.
"Our wildlife control measure through issuance of hunting licenses has reached its limit," said Khama.
He said the numbers of wild animals that attract tourists from across the globe has been going down.
The decision to stop granting hunting licenses comes at a time when those dealing in ivory trade are still queuing up at the government's door asking for hunting rights.
Now it seems that they will have to wait until such a time when the government has reconsiders her decision to stop issuance of hunting licenses.