Jumbo Slaughter
Operation Jumbo Slaughter

42 West is working with Botswana to develop messaging to position its policy on elephant hunting to counter criticisms from western animal rights groups and the eco-tourism sector.

Botswana, which enjoyed a reputation as a safe haven for pachyderms, has had its elephant population soar from in the 20,000s during the 1970s to 135K today, which is a third of the world’s total.

The government contends that out-of-control elephants have killed farmers, wrecked crops and destroyed landscapes.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who took office in 2018, wants to lift the ban on elephant hunting and use the dead animals as a source of meat.

In March, he lashed out at criticism from British environmental groups as “a racist onslaught. They speak as if there are no human beings here. It’s a big zoo and they are the keepers of the zoo,” according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Masisi said:'We don't want to come across as loving to kill animals. We have to protect people and property. We are a sovereign state and we do not have to be arm-twisted by Western countries which talk as if there are no people here and elephants are the only important thing."

The Mail dubbed Botswana's looming elephant hunt as "Operation Jumbo Slaughter."

42 West, which has received $125K from Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism unit for its work, also is pitching the country's "unrivaled natural beauty and responsible environmental stewardship."

Allan Mayer, co-CEO and head of 42 West's strategic communications unit, leads the work for Botswana. He's the former head of Sitrick & Co.'s entertainment unit and staff writer for the Wall Street Journal.