This blog shares opinions, regional news, views and stories related to beautiful Botswana and some of its neighbouring countries. Special emphasis is given to tourism in Botswana and the amazing affordable vacation and safari packages that are currently on offer in the country. IT'S SO EASY... you should try it sometime!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Only 6 signatures – how successful was the Botswana Elephant Conference?

"Current elephant poaching in Africa remains far too high, and could soon lead to local extinctions if the present killing rates continue."
Image by: Reuben Goldberg

By Clarissa Hughes - 24 December 2013

In the wake of the Elephant Summit held in Botswana in early December where urgent measures to halt the rampant illegal ivory trade were adopted one is left asking if it is enough?

Against a backdrop of ever increasing levels of poaching across Africa the Summit was called to tackle the onslaught that threatens this iconic species. Statistics released at the summit indicate that 22 000 elephants were poached in 2012, an improvement on the estimated figure of 25 000 elephants poached in 2011, however ivory seizures in 2013 signal that elephant deaths in 2013 may reach 40 000.

“We have gathered to secure demonstrable commitment to undertake those measures that have been deemed urgent across range, transit and consumer countries,” said H.E Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, at the official opening of the Summit.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Botswana’s ban on hunting can impact South Africa

San bushmen, Gudigwa, Botswana.
Botswana's controversial decision not to issue hunting licences as from next year can be a push for the South African economy, but - on the other hand - it can also place the country's wildlife in the sight of poachers from this neighbouring state.

“President Ian Khama said the decision not to issue hunting licences was taken to protect Botswana's fauna, because hunting licences encourage poaching. However, the problem is that it is going to have a reversed effect,” says Prof Melville Saayman of the North-West University's (NWU) Potchefstroom Campus.

“Kenya followed the same path. They also banned hunting and currently have a huge game poaching problem, so much so that some of their species face total extinction. The strategy proposed by Botswana is short-sighted and is not going to work. Game numbers will decline and this will have a serious impact on the hunting and game farm industry in the country.

"Case studies from South Africa have shown that as soon as the hunting of a species is allowed, it leads to the breeding as well as conservation of the particular species. Botswana's policy is definitely going to lead to job losses, since it affects professional hunters and other related professions."

According to Prof Saayman it may, in the short term, benefit South Africa and Namibia, since professional hunters will have to find their means of livelihood elsewhere. However, the long-term picture does not look as rosy.

"As the wildlife in Botswana declines, poachers will also look for another means of livelihood, and they can find it in South Africa. This can place immense pressure on our game industry. Game poachers from Zimbabwe and Mozambique are a big headache. Add poachers from Botswana and it might become a nightmare."

At a hunting indaba recently held at Sun City, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, said that the government commits itself to the growth and expansion of South Africa's hunting industry.
"This is a very positive step, especially seen in the light that the value of this industry is approximately R6 billion per annum and that it still has a lot of growth potential," says Prof Saayman.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SPANA lights up Christmas for Botswana donkeys

SPANA lights up Christmas for Botswana donkeys
One thousand donkeys in Botswana are to sparkle in the night this Christmas thanks to SPANA and partner charity MAWS

Every year, countless donkeys die on the roads of Botswana, where nearly ten per cent of all road traffic accidents are caused by domestic animals like livestock and donkeys.
SPANA has funded Botswana’s Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS) to attach reflective tags to the ears of 1000 donkeys in rural villages.

In Botswana donkeys are used to transport people and goods, pull carts, and for agriculture.  Thousands of poor families rely on the income generated from working donkeys for their livelihoods, but many have no choice other than to let their donkeys roam freely in search of food.

The project aims to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving the animals at night by making them more visible to motorists. Donkeys and livestock in Botswana commonly roam free on roads in search of grazing. However, at night, drivers are often unable to see the animals on the road in time to brake.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Poaching critical as Botswana opens Elephant Summit

"Current elephant poaching in Africa remains far too high, and could soon lead to local extinctions if the present killing rates continue."
Image by: Reuben Goldberg
As many as 20 percent of Africa's elephants could be killed in the next 10 years if illegal poaching continues at the current rate, according to new data released at the opening of the Elephant Summit in Botswana.

An estimated 22 000 elephants were illegally killed across Africa in 2012, slightly lower than the 25 000 elephants poached in 2011, according to a report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

The elephant killings took place at 42 sites across 27 Africa countries, said the CITES report.

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