No one will be allowed to hunt wildlife in Botswana, come 2014, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has announced. He said wildlife numbers were decreasing at an alarming rate, hence the decision.
This highly contraversial decision made by the President of Botswana has been something that he has felt passionately about since he came into power in 2008. The wildlife in Botswana is something we at Degrees of Africa feel very strongly about too. We have had many debates with our hunting colleagues in the industry and you can imagine some of them were very heated. But although Degrees of Africa is all about “keeping the animals alive and safe” we cannot ignore what a substantial financial contribution hunting adds to conservation. However taking all this into consideration we are not talking about hunting an impala which will feed 2-3 families. We are not even talking about a few men who enjoy hunting once or twice a year in an environment where animals are bred for hunting. We are talking about a very elite group of people who enjoy trophy hunting – and pay a substantial amount of money to shoot an elephant, leopard, buffallo or lion to name but a few.
Although we at Degrees of Africa are not entirely against hunting…we are not entirely for it either. You could say we are sitting on the fence with this but we aren’t. Our main problem with hunting is that our wildlife numbers are decreasing…just as the President of Botswana says. The other problem that we have with hunting is that the pedigree of the animals are threatened. On the flip side of the coin – when we say we are not entirely against hunting – it is not ONLY for the sake of our colleagues and communitites that will be loosing their incomes but also for the sake of financial support in conserving our beautiful animals…this debate could go on for days….tell us what you think?
Read more on what the President of Botswana says below…………………
“Next year will be the last time anyone is allowed to hunt in Botswana and we have realised that if we do not take care of our animals, we will have a huge problem in terms of tourism,” President Khama told Sankoyo and Mababe residents last week. The President also decried the rate at which poachers were killing elephants.
“We have increased the number of soldiers and police officers that patrol our game parks. Yesterday our officers apprehended five people with 12 elephant tusks in the Chobe area. Two of them are Batswana and three are Zimbabweans,” said President Khama.
He said government was aware of people’s complaint about damages caused by the elephants in their villages, especially in the farms. “There is someone who will come to this district next week, starting with Khwai village. That person will help you chase away elephants from your villages by using certain methods that he has been taught,” he said.
He indicated that elephants were the main attraction of tourists to Botswana hence he could never allow for them to be killed. He also informed residents that compensation for damage done to farms by elephants would be 100 per cent instead of the current 35 per cent.
“As for those who lose cattle because of lions and other predators, compensation will be cattle,” he said.
President Khama indicated that compensation would be done after extensive investigations.
He also appealed to residents to help law enforcement officers in fighting poaching.
In South Africa, he said, poachers killed 440 rhinos last year and this year they had so far killed 450.
Earlier on, residents of Sankoyo had complained to President Khama about elephants that were damaging their crop fields and lions which killed their livestock.
They also pleaded with the President to extend the hunting season since elephants were too many in their village.