Botswana has announced the lifting of its ban on elephant hunting, attributing its decision to an apparent rise in “human-elephant conflict” caused by rising elephant numbers. Conservationists, however, criticized the move as not being grounded in science and said it could have negative effects on Botswana’s thriving wildlife-driven tourism industry. Botswana is home to the world’s largest elephant population, with about 130,000 living in the southern African country, according to conservationists. After diamonds, tourism is Botswana’s biggest foreign-income earner. The government banned hunting elephants in 2014 at the direction of then-President Ian Khama, a staunch conservationist. But the ban has been controversial in Botswana, where advocates for lifting the ban say the growing number of elephants has affected locals’ livelihoods. Khama over the weekend quit the governing BDP which has ruled since independence more than half a century ago, citing deep differences between him and his successor.