Project to address human wildlife conflict starts (Botswana)


Kedirebofe Pelontle, The Daily News

Date Published

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The University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute (ORI) has started a project dubbed ‘Promoting Sustainable Livelihood (ProSuLi) in Transfrontier Conservation areas.’

The project aims to address challenges of human wildlife conflict through research findings which would provide informed solutions.

The research institute’s director, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa said the three-year project was funded by the European Union at the tune of P2.5 million.

He was speaking at the unveiling of the project and a new vehicle to be used for the project in Maun on (Friday).

The project area of scope, he said, was the Okavango Delta as communities around the area experienced extensive human wildlife conflicts.

He said issues of elephants raiding crops and predation on livestock heightened conflict. The four communities selected for the project include Seronga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gunotsoga.

Professor Mbaiwa noted that the project would help with data on how to address human wildlife conflict.

“The whole idea is to have sustainable development which will benefit communities now and in future hence the need for amicable solutions,” he said.

The head of the project, Dr Richard Fyn said the four villages experienced a lot of conflict, especially elephants raiding crops and cattle killed by wildlife.

He noted that some farmers had resorted to using poison to kill lions, noting that it also affected vultures who fed on poisoned carcasses.

Dr Fyn explained that the project was intended to help affected communities find solutions and improve their livelihoods.

He said one way was through stakeholder meetings in affected communities. Furthermore, he said the fusion of old and modern practices in cattle herding may be a solution, adding that full-time professional herders trained on ecology and herding may also be a solution.

Another feasible solution, he said, was assisting communities to find markets for their cattle and mobile abattoirs to ensure cattle were slaughtered in their areas under strict regulations.