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MINISTERS CONSULT LEADERS ON HUNTING BAN
27/09/18

MINISTERS CONSULT LEADERS ON HUNTING BAN

North West District councillors have been informed that killing of elephants is violation of protocols that the country has signed.

Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Mr Thapelo Olopeng, said this when responding to a suggestion raised during a consultative meeting with councillors.

He explained that Botswana was part of the global village, therefore, it should abide by the signed protocols.

Mr Olopeng, who was with minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia and other officials were on a mission to solicit ideas on reviewing of the hunting ban.

He appreciated that the number of elephants in the country had increased significantly. Consequently, elephants have reached areas where they were never seen before including Kweneng region and Phakalane in Gaborone.

The minister, however, stressed the need to come up with a proper management tool that would promote wildlife conservation.

Most of the councillors called on the government to lift hunting ban in order to manage wildlife-human conflict in the district while a few suggested culling and killing of species with high population as management tool.

They questioned what had informed the government to impose a hunting ban arguing that wildlife had impoverished the communities adding that the district had experienced an increase in elephant and predator population in some areas.

They said the animals, particularly elephants, were coming from all angles and roaming around destroying the buffalo fence, causing a serious damage in homesteads, ploughing fields and also causing deaths.

They said the elephants had also denied communities an opportunity to benefit from available government programmes citing ISPAAD, LIMID and rearing of cattle.

The political leaders suggested that if hunting ban was lifted, it had to be controlled and managed in a sustainable and professional manner.

One of ways they said, it could be controlled through quota to the concerned parties such as the community and the community based organizations.

Councillors also suggested that government could play a role to manage interested parties and ensure Batswana are given priority on issuance of licenses so that they benefit economically.

They said out of all operations in the Okavango Delta, a few of locals were benefiting and called for review of some policies which they said disadvantage the locals from venturing into tourism activities.

Political leaders also stated that experts should advice the government on the carrying capacity especially on elephant population in Ngamiland.

The government was also advised to look into empowering Problem Animal Control unit and maintains buffer fences to separate wildlife from the communities.

Earlier on, Mr Olopeng informed them that scientific evidence had indicated that in 2012, the population of elephants was 20565 and in 2014 it was estimated around 200 000 while to date they were estimated around 150 000. BOPA

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