Daily News (Botswana)

Official warns of roaming wild animals

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) regional coordinator, Mr Dimakatso Ntshebe has cautioned Ngamiland community to be vigilant as they have observed an increase in movement of wildlife across the district.
He revealed in an interview that since the extreme social distancing, they had registered 96 incidences of human/wildlife conflict, which said could be because animals roamed freely due to restriction of people’s movements.

Some animals, he said, moved a lot because many water sources or islands had been filled up due to recent rains.

The wildlife has been reported to be causing damage at ploughing fields, farms, killing livestock and destroying properties such as fences and water tanks among others.

Mr Ntshebe mentioned that some species such as lions, leopards and cheetahs’ roamed due to the availability of prey.

Recently, he said some wild dogs were reported at Mochaba area near Shorobe village, some elephants were spotted in Maun while two buffaloes were killed at Matlapana ward also in Maun last week.

Still in Shorobe catchment areas, he said some farmers at Shokomoka settlement recently killed a young male lion, which they suspected to be one of the two spotted at some areas in Maun last month.

Mr Ntshebe noted farmers reported that the lion killed one heifer in their area and they killed it. He said they suspected that the other lion could have returned to the area.

He noted that the law permited residents to protect themselves when animals threaten their lives or cause damage to their property.

The DWNP official said they had only registered two fatalities in which a person was attacked by an elephant at Etsha while one was attacked by a hippo at Jao Flats area in the Okavango district.

He stressed that although they encourage people to kill troublesome wild animals, he appealed to them to report such incidents.

Mr Ntshebe said if reported animals are found near the buffalo fence, they could drive them back into the Okavango Delta.

As the flood waters from the Okavango Delta are expected to reach Thamalakane River mid-May, he warned residents to be alert all the time as the inflow would bring dangerous animals such as crocodiles and hippos.

Most residents make ends meet through water activities such as fishing and collecting the traditional fruit commonly known as ‘Tswii’ to sell. ENDS