Elephant Poaching On The Rise (Botswana)


Boniface Keakabetse, The Monitor

Date Published

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MAUN: July is proving to be a bloody month for elephants poaching in Ngamiland area as 17 jumbos have reportedly been gunned down. 

District wildlife coordinator, Timmy Blackbeard revealed in an interview that they have registered 11 cases of poaching in Nokaneng area adding that six were further discovered in the Ditshiping area.

He explained that poaching is growing in western Ngamiland in areas such as Gcwihaba Hills, adding that recently carcasses of poached animals were discovered in the area.

“Recent research predicts that about 600 tonnes of bush meat is smuggled out of this district monthly.  I thought the research was over exaggerated but judging by the recent trends, 600 tonnes may be nothing,” Blackbeard said.

He explained that that are experiencing a shortage of resources to deal with the problem. Blackbeard explained that poachers mostly target elephants, giraffes and buffalo. He said however from next year, they will start using aircraft to patrol the entire district.

The Monitor understands that at the moment, anti-poaching operations are undertaken by Botswana Defence Force  who are reportedly thin on the ground. Meanwhile Police District No. 5 officer commanding, Peter Gochela has revealed that four carcasses were discovered in Karangana near Gumare village. He explained that the carcasses had missing tusks, adding that they suspect the case is connected to poaching.

Gochela explained that no arrests have been made in connection with the case.

He confirmed that July had more reported ivory cases saying so far they have investigated four cases in total. The police chief further explained that a 51-year-old man from Sedie ward is under investigation after being found in possession of two elephant tusks.

He said the man was arrested following a tip-off and is out on bail as the tusks had been sent to Gaborone for verification.

In another separate case, a 30-year-old man from Bombadi ward was found with another pair of tusks. Gochela said following a tip-off, the man led them to Komana village where the tusks were retrieved from a house. He said another man is also being investigated in connection with this matter is at large.

Gochela said recently a 25-year-old woman from Newtown in Maun recently discovered an elephant tusk while she was collecting firewood. She said the woman reported that she found the tusk hidden in a nearby bush and alerted the police. He revealed that the tusk was handed to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Gochela appealed to members of the public to report any suspicions cases of poaching to relevant authorities such as the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, police or village chiefs so that action can be taken swiftly.