As for the proposed cuts in 2002 quotas, it is possible some of them will not be finalized. However, according to Rann, there has been little difference between the proposed and final quota the last three years. He was not optimistic that things would be any different this year. "We have made our comments to the authorities," Rann said. "They know we are not happy about the cuts and that we don't agree with them."
Rann said it was clear that the recent cuts and the decision to keep lion closed were both political, as opposed to management, decisions. As evidence, he noted that the leopard cuts were made in an across-the-board fashion that made no scientific sense. Specifically, the current quota of roughly 50 leopards in the entire country (with some areas being allowed as few as one and with others being allowed as many as five) was replaced with a blanket quota of two cats per concession, regardless of population figures.
The underlying worry about Botswana is the emerging downward trend. Are the quota cuts a sort of slow-motion hunting closure? "We still have great elephant and buffalo, plus plains game," Rann told The Hunting Report. "We're going to look on the bright side for as long as we can...."
Speaking of elephants, Botswana does indeed still........(continued)