Gaborone — The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama says the latest wildlife census shows that government’s efforts against poaching were bearing fruit.
Speaking at the handing over of the Elephant census report, Minister Khama said while other countries in the region had been assisted by international donors, 99.9 per cent of Botswana’s efforts against poaching were funded by the government.
He said the government’s decision to ban hunting was the right decision as certain species were declining.
In July to October 2014, Elephants Without Borders (EWB) in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) undertook an aerial survey counting elephants and other wildlife in the northern part of the country, he said.
It was part of the GEC which was fully sponsored by Mr Paul Allen and his sister, Jody.
For his part, EWB director, Dr Michael Chase said the total elephant estimate in the northern part of Botswana was over 129 000, the largest population in Africa.
He said the elephant population in Chobe appeared to be decreasing while in Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan national parks it grew at a rate of 15 per cent per year.
“Many of the changes in the local elephant population are due to movement of elephants between different parts of Botswana and surrounding countries,” he said.
Dr Chase said during the survey, they saw 18 elephant carcasses but that none appeared to have been killed by poachers.
He said this showed improvement as the 2010 EWB survey showed that 20 per cent of the fresh elephant carcasses were attributed to poaching.
The survey indicated that there were about 48 000 zebras, 26 000 buffaloes, 9 000 giraffes, 57 000 lechwe, 9 000 hippos and over 72 000 impalas.
The survey showed a decline of between 7 to 10 per cent for wildebeest, tsessebe and springbok.
Ostrich are also declining by 9 per cent annually in the northern part of Botswana, he said.