Botswana: Elephant-Human Conflict Need Redress


By Baleseng Batlotleng, Daily News

Date Published
Gaborone — The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism has been asked to develop a strategy that will lessen elephant-human conflict, which now poses a grave threat to their continued existence.
Gaborone South MP, Mr Kagiso Molatlhegi suggested that as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was against the reduction of the elephant population, it would be best if the organisation instead purchased ivory and funds be used for some development projects.
Mr Molatlhegi said the minister must lead the way in educating about renewable energy. He said Botswana was set to benefit from carbon trade if it was given the urgency it deserved. Maun East MP, Mr Kostantinos Markus decried the non-functionality of trusts such as Khwai and Mababe which were once the economic backbones of the region.
He said the area around Mababe and Khwai was also inundated with a huge population of elephants. He said since hunting was not allowed in the area, elephant and human conflict exacerbated poor performances in the agriculture sector for farmers.
He said the Makalamabedi buffer zone was destroyed by elephants foraging for grazing fields. Gaborone Bonnington South MP, Mr Ndaba Gaolathe said conservation should be of a broad base approach and cover areas such as rivers, land and soil outside animals.
He said there should be a coordinated and aggressive infrastructure investment on issues of waste management. He advised the minister to explore feasible opportunities that the tourism sector could provide.
The legislator said government must provide sustainable employment opportunities for Batswana through other means not just the traditional tourism areas but also cities which are often not considered potential tourism areas.
He explained that mining towns like Jwaneng, Selebi Phikwe and Orapa can easily become mining tourism towns. Chobe MP Mr Ronald Shamukuni said the minister must speed up the envisaged Elephant Management Strategy and also despite the economic situation, hasten to compensate farmers on time.
He asked the minister to involve the Chobe District Council in the Kasane/ Kazungula facelift. Mr Shamukuni said an important component of the facelift was the relocation of the old Kasane community to Plateau.
He advised the minister to consult with the community before anything can take off. He suggested to the minister to consider selective hunting in Chobe and also develop a strategy that would see elephants generating income to farmers who had lost their livestock.
Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Mr Shaw Kgathi said government must start exploring the Eastern corridor of the country for tourism opportunities. He decried the growing number of the elephant population in the Bobirwa area largely due to Dikgatlhong and Thune Dams.
Mr Kgathi who is also MP for Bobirwa also wanted clarification on progress on the Shalimpo Transfrontiers from the date of signing of memorandum of understanding. He also pleaded with the minister to take care and establish as protected sites Mmakwa Hills in Mashatu.