Residents of Chobe have called for management of growing elephant population through introduction of controlled hunting through relocating them to other areas.
“We strongly feel controlled hunting can be an effective management strategy to avoid environmental degradation and reduce the number of human-wildlife conflict,” opined one of the residents, Mr Peace Shamuka.
Residents also called for increment of water ponds away from villages to drive elephant traffic away from their homes.
“If more ponds are increased out in the wild, we might see less elephants and predators in our villages as they would have water available out there,” one of the residents Mr Bobby Setlhare said. Due to low rainfalls this year, there had been reports of elephants invading people’s yards in search of water.
In addition, they also called for compensation by government for the loss of human lives.
Currently, government compensates farmers for damage to their property and for losses when their livestock is killed by certain predators, however no such compensation exists in the case of human live losses.
Additionally, most felt that compensation for livestock must include all animals as some like hyenas were not compensated for, despite the fact that they kill small stock.
The outgoing district commissioner, Dr Temba Mmusi, explained that the objective of the forum was to facilitate community discussions on ways of resolving human-wildlife conflict in the region.
“Another objective is to get the community’s perspective on the matter and what solutions they have for resolving human-wildlife conflict,” he said.
Interventions suggested were going to help develop the human-wildlife conflict strategy for Chobe.
Member of Parliament for Chobe, Mr Machana Shamukuni called for practical ideas that could be used to resolve this conflict and cautioned the community against blame games.
“I am aware that because of this conflict, livelihoods in agriculture had been lost so we need to put politics aside and engage on how best to resolve this,” he said.
The forum organised by the Bio-Chobe Project, was a follow up to President Lt. Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s kgotla meetings recently, in which he challenged communities in Chobe to come up with lasting solutions to solve human-wildlife conflict in the area.