Lord Mancroft believes that one must demonstrate that the trophy was legally exported and imported respectively

Lord Benjamin Mancroft, representing the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, remains steadfast in his commitment, along with his colleagues, to diligently review and refine the Import Prohibition Bill, upon its presentation to them.

The Bill was presented for its second reading before the British Parliament this week, aiming to prohibit the importation of hunted animal body parts into the United Kingdom. However, as per British legislative procedure, the Bill must undergo amendments in the House of Lords before it can be enacted by the House of Commons. Addressing the media and a Botswana delegation who travelled to the UK at the Botswana High Commission in London, Mancroft said: "We do not know exactly what the bill contains until the House of the Commons sends to us which will be late this year. But, when it does, we will do our duty to revise and amend the legislation to the best of our ability.”

Mancroft explained that he is just one of the group members who are concerned that the Bill has been proposed and is not right in that it does not achieve what its promoter think it will achieve, which is to protect "your wildlife and the wildlife of all the countries in the world." He believes that the bill is about animal rights, and not about conservation. Mancroft further said: "we have a duty to look after the wildlife, animals, birds, plants are different in every country. I am passionate about conserving animal whether here in UK or in your beautiful country. I believe this bill will not help wildlife for the reasons that you know. It is not to the advantage of the wildlife and we will like to try and get some changes on this bill so that it can achieve whatever we want to achieve which is to conserve and protect wildlife in your country."

He further said: "I should say, I am not a leader in this but one of the groups, in the house of commons and House of the Lords, there are colleagues of all parties. The fact that I wrote a letter to a newspaper does not make me a leader. We are all together in this, we will do whatever we can to try to make sure that this Bill if it passes, when it passes it helps wildlife." He explained that there is one particular change which is what must be called conservation management which is to change the bill so that the ban on the imported trophy is not absolute, that you can import trophies if you can demonstrate that either they have been legally exported from the country that they had been taken, and are legally imported into the UK.

Furthermore, that those that can demonstrate that a particular animal was not affecting the overall conservation of its population or species and additionally it must be to the advantage of the community which lives around the area of the animals. Those things are not complicated; they are not according to the conservation experts, are not that difficult to achieve and certainly in this country, the authorities believe they can do that because it will be merely an extension of the current regime.

He said speaking for himself, his guess will be that most people do not understand the complexities of this debate and they have taken on board the arguments that Botswana and her neighboring countries have been making and indeed other countries in the world, North America, Asia and Europe. "I think it is very difficult for one country to make a complex argument about another country, a thousand miles away. It is very difficult to get politicians to get arguments in their own countries and communicate them to another group, politicians and parliamentarians." Explaining the role that his House plays, Mancroft said the house of Lords is the revising chamber and the House of the commons is the elective chamber, and it usually get what it wants.

We are a revising chamber and we look at the legislation and the bill the House of the Commons sends to us and we look at it line by line and seek to improve it before sending it back to the House of the Lords for their agreement." He suspect interest on the bill will grow when the arguments get more intense, and more focused. "I am not sure but I think 68 of my colleagues signed the letter to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the current parliament started, asking him not to re-introduce the bill as a government bill; the government had nothing to do with this bill. It is not a government bill, but it is private. The government has not supported it and it is not supporting it as far as I am aware, unless if they changed their minds," he said.

Asked what is his view on former President Dr Ian Khama's campaign for the Bill, Mancroft said Khama is entitled to his views, he is free in this country to say whatever he likes for his purpose, but I can assure you that I made a point in my letter that none of us, certainly not me are being lobbied by any cartels or any hunting organisations at all; the two groups that are our biggest groups are the Southern African governments of which Botswana is one of, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania; we have also received lots of communications from other governments from other countries. Most of all we have received background from leading international conservationists from leading Universities in the UK and other parts of the world." he explains and assures that: "I have not met a leading conservationist who support this bill in its present form and they have all warned us of the damaging consequences of the bill if it is to pass in its present form."

Asked on how he feels to be arguing this case every now and then as it keeps on coming, Lord Mancroft said, "I have been in the House of Lords for 37 years which is quite a long time, you get used to arguing these cases again and again, winning some and losing some. I have been involved in the trophy hunting bill for Africa for a long time and last year I took it up. I have been involved in hunting here in the UK for most of my political life. I have never hunted in Africa. But 40 years ago I did visit Botswana and went to the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta and then to Namibia. But like all young men, I fell in love with Africa, and its wonderful place; your country Botswana is absolutely magical and if there is anything I can do to help preserve that wonderful part of world, of course I will do.”