Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Botswana's cabinet ministers endorsed lifting a four-year ban against trophy hunting of elephants on public land and turning elephant meat into pet food.
The country is home to the world's largest elephant populations -- with nearly 130,000 elephants.
Botswana's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, tasked a government subcommittee with reviewing the 2014 ban against hunting large mammals on public land when he took office last year.
The ministers decided Thursday to recommend lifting the hunting ban, the nation's government announced in a Facebook post. It also advised compensating for damage caused by wildlife and opening the door for elephant meat to be used in canned pet food.
The decision on lifting the ban now rests with Masisi, who is reviewing the ministers' recommendations.
"If need be, we will give an opportunity to parliament to also interrogate it and allow them space to intervene, before we make a final determination," The East African reported President Masisi said Thursday after receiving the report.
The charity Elephants Without Borders found 87 elephants poached in Botswana over a few months last year, but the country's government disputed the conservationists' numbers.