Ngamiland communities are calling on the government to consider partially lifting the hunting ban of elephants and buffaloes in Ngamiland. Communities want Government to partially lift the hunting ban of the two species or open veterinary fences for elephants to go the southern region so that the whole country can share the burden. The communities raised the matter with the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Wildlife, Tourism, natural resources and natural resources when they were briefing the Community Based Natural Resources Managements CBRNM in Maun recently.
The chairman of Ngamiland Community Based Natural Resources Natural Management Forum Dr Olekae Thakadu called for the exemption of the two species from the hunting ban as they were not at risk of extinction. The ban was imposed in 2014. He further noted that the community trust appreciates that some wildlife species are declining as per Mike Chase report of 2010. He, however, the two species are a threat to the agricultural sectors in the northern Botswana. He said elephants destroy crops while buffaloes transmit Foot and Mouth disease to cattle which are mainstay in the region.
Dr Thakadu told the committee that they have made resolutions in the CBRNM forum this year that they want the hunting ban to exempt elephants and buffaloes because they are increasing. He further indicated that partial lifting of these species will reduce the human wildlife conflicts in Ngamiland. Some members suggested that if government does not approve elephants and buffaloes hunting it must consider relieving Ngamiland of elephants and buffaloes numbers by letting them spread to the south of the country.
Chairman of the Nokaneng Community Development Trust, Keakgametse Katisi supported the lifting of ban on elephants. Katisi said it is not fair that Ngamiland to continue to be impoverished by the increasing buffaloes and elephant’s numbers which are considered the national assets, saying the nation must share the burden. The Chairman of Lake Ngami Conservation Trust Frisco Gabokakangwe complained about lack of consultation by Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama. He gave an example of the 2016 fishing regulations that were introduced without their concern. “The govt said they consulted but we were not consulted so we want the minister to come here and address these burning issues,” he said. The chairperson of the Parliamentary committee Itumeleng Moipisi told community trusts that they will present their report to relevant ministries and department to come up with solutions to their concerns.