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Botswana Defence Force (BDF)
BDF Animals Awareness Park

  • The Botswana Defence Force Animal Awareness Park was established in 1989 by the then Commander of the BDF, now the President of Botswana, His Excellency Lieutenant General S. K. I. Khama. This was in response to the proliferation of the poaching in the Chobe and Nhabe regions which are the Wildlife hub of this country.
  • The military was called in to assist the situation which was then getting out of control, with some animals species such as rhino and others threatened to extinction. The military personnel were not experienced with animals and this proved to be more difficult as there were confrontations with animals which may have been aggravated by harassment from poachers. This made the soldiers more harmful to the animals than to protect them as was the mandate.
  • The Animal Awareness Park was then introduced with the idea to teach soldiers about animal behaviour and to remove the fear for such predatory animals during patrols. The first animals to be introduced were 10 lions, with 8 females and 2 males.
  • Then WOI Timmy Blackbeard who had gone for animal behaviour training in South Africa was the caretaker of the park and taught soldiers how to handle and familiarize themselves with the animals. He did not have much expertise himself but could advise on how to handle one-self when encountered by such animals. Soldiers would time and again be sent into the cages to feed the lions. This was done just to kill the fear for such animals.
  • Other animals that included different types of snakes found in the country were brought in from the wild while some were caught from the surrounding villages. Crocodiles were obtained from the Chobe River. Monkeys and baboons were also introduced.
  • The last of the first lions, which was affectionately called Tebbie, died of old age, while others died of ill health. There are now six (6) lions with two males which were brought in at different times and four females. These were problem animals which have been rejected by their pride and have drifted towards human domain and were being a disturbance to farmers in the Tuli Block area. Some of these animals were left orphans and were brought in for nurturing.
  • There has not been any plan to breed animals in captivity, since this is an expensive exercise. If ventured into, there has to be management plans that will specify how to deal with excess animals if they exceed the holding capacity. There should also be a plan on how to introduce animals back into the wild. This though, does not mean it can not be done, as some animals have been threatened by human habitat expanding into their terrain and the indiscriminate killing of some threatening their existence.
  • Currently the Park is a host to the following species;
  • Reptiles
  • 1. Nile Crocodiles
    2. Black Mamba
    3. African Rock Python
    4. Puff Adder
    5. Boom Slang
    6. Spitting Cobra
    7. Egyptian Cobra
  • Predators
  • 1. Lions (Panthra Leo)
    2. Spotted Hyena (Crocuita)
    3. Wild Dog (Lycaon Pictus)
    4. Cheetah
    5. Leopard
  • Primates
  • 1. Vevet Monkey (Cercopithecus Aethiops)
    2. Chacma Baboon (Papio Anibus)
  • Ruminants
  • 1. Zebra (Equus Buachelli)
    2. Warthog (Phacochoerus Aethioicus)

  • The public became aware of the Park when the BDF started exhibiting at the International Trade Fair. The Park has since been opened to the public. For bookings to visit the Park, an individual or organization may write a letter to the following address;
  • The Commander,
    Botswana Defence Force
    Private Bag X06
  • Att: Director of Protocol and Public Affairs,
    Tel: +267 366 2775





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