Elephants poaching worry Space for Giants 


Pini Bothoko, Mmegi Online

Date Published
See link for photo.

Elephant poaching remains a challenge as elephants are still being poached in large numbers according to the chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Space for Giants Dr Max Guaham.

Guaham said threats to Africa’s elephants grow despite momentum against poaching as many elephants are killed in a day for their ivory. He said this addressing the media during a press briefing that was organised by Space for Giants and the Tlhokomela Trust on Botswana’s central involvement with a major upcoming global conservation event, the Giants Club Summit.

He said poaching remains a huge problem, something that needs greater efforts to ensure that elephants and other wildlife are valued by the communities that host them for their survival.  He said fiercer laws, better frontline protection and significant drops in the price of tusks in China, the main market, have raised hopes that poaching has declined from peaks seen earlier this decade. He said pressures on elephant habitats are surging as human populations grow.

“The fact that dozens are still lost every day means that we are still far indeed from calling the poaching crisis over. At the same time, elephants face multiplying problems as most elephant habitat still extends outside protected areas, and the rapid growth of human populations and the extension of agriculture into rangelands and forests formerly considered unsuitable for farming mean that elephant habitat is continuing to be lost,” Guaham said.

He said Botswana has agreed to host the Giants Club Summit in March 2018 to be held soon after China enacts its domestic ivory trade ban and will recognise the great distinction of that step and help drive new partnership between China and Africa that ensure natural ecosystems flourish.

He said the Summit will also work to secure Africa’s largest single remaining contagious elephant population, which straddles the borders of five countries to engage global enterprise to show investing in conservation is good for corporate social responsibility and good for business in increasingly discerning global markets.

The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama applauded Space for Giants for their continued efforts in making sure that elephants are protected. He said Botswana holds 30-40% of elephants’ population something that has contributed immensely to human-wildlife conflicts. Tshekedi said elephants continue to invade people’s fields destroying crops something that cost the Government a lot of money in compensation.

“Government has given us additional funds to help us manage them, but that is difficult as on a daily basis elephants cross into Botswana from neighbouring countries. We have however received assistance from the Botswana Defence Force with two helicopters and soldiers to manage their movements before they can invade people’s fields,” Khama said. Khama said they intend to use shade netting in cluster fencing that appears to be working to stop elephants from invading people’s fields.

“This appears to be working as we have started it as a pilot project at Kachikau and Parakarungu areas. We will invest P2 million to the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security for shade netting and hopeful that this will reduce the cost on compensation of farmers,” Khama said.