Gaborone — Botswana is regarded as one of the countries in Africa with best models of anti-poaching.
Addressing the media on preparations for the upcoming Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference on March 25, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama said the country had the commitment to protecting its wildlife, particularly elephants because of the alarming rise of poaching.
He said there were aspects that contributed to effective anti-poaching such as political will, education and community buy in or getting people informed and involved in the topic. The minister noted that the elephant population in Botswana stood at about 140 000.
Mr Khama said the protection of the African elephant was a serious issue that needed concerted efforts as the populations were in decline. Meanwhile, Botswana will host the African Elephant Summit in March 23 in Kasasne, followed by the international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in March 25.
The previous conference, dubbed the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade hosted by the United Kingdom in February 2014, was convened in response to the growing crisis in wildlife poaching in order to focus high level political attention on the issue, and also explore new ways to tackle the issue and ensure a more comprehensive approach.
During the 2013 African Elephant Summit, urgent measures which needed to be implemented to combat elephant poaching and trafficking of ivory were agreed on. Some of them included adopting a zero tolerance approach to elephant poaching and ivory trafficking and enhancing capacity of law enforcement and wildlife protection agencies.
Forming and supporting national interagency mechanisms to allow immediate action against anyone implicated in wildlife crime and improving monitoring of elephant populations, levels of killing and illegal trade were also the measures agreed. Other measures included engaging communities living with elephants as active partners in their conservation and implementing efficient measures to register and secure ivory stockpiles among others.