Stray jumbos invade Palapye (Botswana)


Lindiwe Mozola, Mmegi Online

Date Published

Already the department has received reports that one elephant was
spotted around the Botswana International University of Science and
Technology (BIUST) and in Lecheng village.

The DWNP issued the warning during a presentation at the ongoing
Palapye Administrative Authority (PAA) Sub Council.

According to PAA Chief Wildlife warden, Thatayaone Tshekiso, the
population of elephants in the Palapye area is expected to increase
and people are warned to be extra cautious.

“There are a lot of them and we expect their numbers to increase.  We
suspect they come from our neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe and
Zambia, but we can assure you that they are very peaceful and people
should not panic whenever they see them. Rather, they should be
careful not to provoke them,” he said. He said that so far the DWNP
had not received any reports of large scale damages done by elephants
besides the destruction of fences surrounding people’s lands.

He said that one of the causes that lead to an elephant migrating from
one country to another is to look for peace.   Batswana should
therefore  embrace that since it shows that the elephants are after
peace this indicates that Botswana is a peaceful country.

Tshekiso further stated that it is difficult to control the elephants
as their movements are determined by the availability of water and
other resources.

According to the chief wildlife warden, government pays out a total of
P70,000 whenever a human being is killed by an animal, with P50,000 of
the amount being disbursed to dependents and the balance going towards
the funeral expenses.

Responding to the presentation, councillors said while they
appreciated the government’s efforts to compensate victims, the
amounts awarded were too little looking at the pricelessness of life.

Morupule ward councillor, Jordan Makhura called for the compensation
to be reviewed and increased. He also said that it was unfair that it
applied only when a life was lost, saying the scope should be widened
to when attacks leave people disabled.

“Also, is there anyway you can remove the elephants to avoid loss of
lives because Batswana still lack information on how to act around
them so that they do not become aggressive?” he asked. Mogapi
councillor, Tuelo Metseyabeng said the elephants should be returned
from ‘where they come from’ noting that people would end up taking the
law into their own hands by killing them.

“In Mogapi they are troubling us and they have caused a lot of damage.
For people to receive help they have to travel as far as Mmadinare
where DWNP offices are located.  Some, therefore have resorted to
dangerous measures such as targeting the elephants,” he said.