Botswana has lifted its elephant hunting ban, after a five-year probation period.

The country's officials said that the reversal of the ban followed "extensive consultations with all the stakeholders," in a statement published yesterday (May 22) by Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism.

The move was deeply criticized by conservationists, who are concerned that it will increase ivory poaching.

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Botswana is thought to be home to some 130,000 elephants — about a third of all the elephants in Africa.

The country has long been a safe haven for the animals and has been largely unaffected by the ivory poaching that has wiped out a third of the continent's elephants in the past decade.

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