Mmegi

Chase responds to elephant poaching allegations 

Elephants Without Borders (EWB) has received many questions and comments regarding the elephant poaching situation that has been widely reported in the press.

By CORRESPONDENT Fri 21 Sep 2018, 14:40 pm (GMT +2)

EWB has been working in partnership with the Government of Botswana (GoB) conducting aerial wildlife surveys since 2010. Our team, which includes members from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and other professionals, is perhaps the most experienced wildlife aerial survey team in Africa.

Our current survey adheres to the highest international standards for counting wildlife, the same standards employed for the surveys EWB conducted in collaboration with the GoB in 2010 and 2014. Dr Michael Chase is recognised for his knowledge and dedication having received the Botswana Presidential Merit of Service Award and was also bestowed the Global Conservation in Action Award, a prestigious international conservation honour. Dr Chase is a fourth generation Motswana and is a citizen of Botswana by birth.

EWB was awarded a grant from the Conservation Trust Fund, under the administration of the DWNP, to conduct the 2018 wildlife aerial survey of northern Botswana. The 2018 survey, began on the July 3 in full partnership with the DWNP, and is due to be completed by October.

During this survey an unusually high number of elephant carcasses were seen by the survey team.

As part of the survey, data (which include GPS locations, photographs, written records and cockpit voice recordings) are collected and then collated, checked and run through standard statistical analyses to generate the final report.

In addition, and given the high number of elephant carcasses seen during the survey, EWB felt it a moral and patriotic duty to immediately report this to the GoB, which it did soon after the survey commenced. EWB is, however, deeply saddened by recent articles both in the written media and on social media which have sought to portray the issue as being political. It is not. EWB has the greatest respect for Government and EWB is completely a-political in its work. EWB’s sole concern is for the wildlife and the natural heritage of our wonderful country and its preservation for future generations of Batswana.

Dr Chase was not extended an invitation to the recent GoB press briefing held in Kasane on the 19 September pertaining to a fact finding mission about alleged elephant poaching.

EWB is not able, until further notice, to release any detailed information concerning the survey in general, nor potential cases of elephant poaching. We trust that concerned citizens of Botswana, the media and the international conservation community can respect these constraints and await the dissemination of the final survey report.