Committee recommends culling of elephants (Botswana)

Feb 22, 2019 | News

Kebone Laetsang, Mmegi Online

Former president Ian Khama instituted the ban on wildlife hunting in 2014 without consultation.

However, three months after taking over as President, Mokgweetsi Masisi in June 2018 set up “The Hunting Ban Subcommittee of Cabinet” to consult the nation on the issue.

The committee is made up of seven Cabinet ministers and one junior minister.

Yesterday the committee presented the report and their recommendations to the President.

Speaking at the handing over of the report, chairperson of the committee Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Frans van der Westhuizen said they consulted widely to come up with their recommendations.

“The consultations covered Kgotla meetings, full council meetings, submission of papers and meetings with individuals and private entities at different forums outside the kgotla,” van der Westhuizen said.

“Those entities consulted include Elephants Without Borders, Community Trusts such as KALEPA-Kazungula, Lesoma, Pandamatenga, CECT-Chobe West as well as the NGO Council, Botswana Wildlife Producers Association and individuals including Richard White, Mark Kyriacou and Richard Pascall of Bartrek Ranch in Tsabong.”

The committee recommended for: the hunting ban to be lifted; development of a legal framework that will create an enabling environment for growth of safari hunting industry and manage Botswana elephant population within its historic range.

It also recommended that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) should undertake an effective community outreach program within the elephant range for Human Elephant Conflict mitigation.

Other recommendations are that strategically placed human wildlife conflict fences be constructed in key hotspot areas, game ranches be demarcated to serve as buffers between communal and wildlife areas.

Equally, compensation for damage caused by wildlife, ex gratia amounts and the list of species that attract compensation be reviewed. In addition, other models that alleviate compensation burden on Government be considered.

“All wildlife migratory routes that are not beneficial to the country’s conservation efforts be closed,” it suggested.

The committee also points out that the Kgalagadi southwesterly antelope migratory route into South Africa should be closed by demarcating game ranches between the communal areas and Kgalagadi Wildlife Management Areas.

Equally, it is recommended that regular but limited elephant culling be introduced and establishment of elephant meat canning, including production of pet food and processing into other by products.

Speaking after receiving the report President Masisi said, “It the will be presented to Cabinet for consideration and the whitepaper will follow which will be shared with the public. If need be we will give opportunity to parliament to also interrogate it”.

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