Botswana hires Hollywood firm to fight elephant hunting PR

WASHINGTON (AP) — A public relations firm with deep Hollywood ties was enlisted by the Botswanan government to fight bad publicity generated by the southern African nation's decision to lift its ban on elephant hunting.

The firm 42 West is mostly known for its work with film industry celebrities, but it notified the U.S. Justice Department last week that it will be working with Botswana's tourism ministry.

Filings show the firm will be paid $125,000 to develop talking points and a communications plan.

That puts 42 West in an awkward spot. Big game hunting is a deeply divisive issue, particularly in Hollywood.

Celebrity activists have spoken out against killing the world's largest land mammal for sport.

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Associated Press writer Cara Anna contributed to this report from Johannesburg, South Africa.