Daily News (Botswana)
May 3, 2021
The elephant management plan is expected to address challenges brought about by the high population of elephants in the country.
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane said this when officially launching the management plan and the game farming guidelines on April 30.
The Vice President observed that the elephant management plan was informed by consultations with local and international affected parties, and had proposed activities, targets, monitoring and evaluation plans to manage the Botswana elephants.
He said the plan would afford local communities more benefits from elephants through eco-tourism and conservation hunting.
Botswana, he said, was experiencing an increase in elephant population while other countries experienced a decline according to the International World Conservation Union (IUCN) red list on elephants released in March 2021. “Botswana is internationally renowned for having the largest elephant population on the African continent, which ranges between 140,000 and 155,000 animals,” he said.
Mr Tsogwane said although the increased elephants showed the success of Botswana’s conservation efforts it, however, had disadvantages on locals. The country, he said, was grappling with challenges of human-wildlife conflicts emanating from elephants.
He said some Batswana made losses in farming and became impoverished as elephants damaged their ploughing fields and equipment. “Conflict incidents have steadily risen in recent years with approximately 40 per cent of all reported cases of wildlife damage to farmers’ crops and agricultural field installations,” he said.
Mr Tsogwane highlighted that some people lost lives as statistics from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks showed that 46 people lost their lives due to elephant attacks while some were injured between 2009 and 2019.
He said government continued to put measures in place to address human-wildlife conflicts.
The Vice President said the budget allocated to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks for compensation of farmers due to elephant destruction has been increased by government.
He added that other interventions included the re-instatement of hunting, which included hunting of elephants, construction of elephant-proof fences and review of compensation rates and species.
In her remarks, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Ms Philda Kereng said the two documents that were launched of elephant management plan and game farming were instrumental in improving the economy of Batswana.
Ms Kereng said the high population of elephants found in the country required a necessary tool to help address conflicts resulting from the population.
She said the review of the 1991 elephant management plan started in 2018 to determine actions to be taken to protect, manage and monitor elephants. Ms Kereng further observed that through the 2021 hunting season, some communities in Ngamiland had managed to raise revenue through hunting quotas.