By Ludo Chube
Latest statistics has revealed that subsistence poaching has grown extensively in the Chobe region.
A total of 400 wire snares were removed in the Chobe district in this quarter alone compared to 59 last quarter. 399 of those found in this quarter were from Pandamatenga area, council chairperson, Mwanota Kachanahas said. Speaking during a full council meeting, Councillor Kachanahas added that the rest of 81 snares were along the Chobe River.
“This is a clear indication that subsistence poaching is extensive in the district and if it goes unabated it will have some negative impact on the wildlife resources in the district,” he said. He appealed to councillors to discuss these issues with their electorate and also revealed that Chobe district has lost 61 elephants and 52 buffaloes in this quarter due to drought and natural causes.
The chairperson noted that the district is continuing to record a high number of animal mortalities due to drought and natural causes. He said human-wildlife conflict also continues to be a major problem in the district. Cllr Kachana said a total of 33 problem animal reports on property damage have been received during this quarter.
These were largely due to lions, elephants and leopards. As a response to that, he said three teams have been deployed to Area 256, Kasane Township and Chobe West, and 12 predator proof kraals have also been constructed and handed over to beneficiaries. Since June this year, a total of 18 poaching incidents were recorded in the district.
“The species poached include 14 elephants, two kudus, a crocodile, a zebra, an eland and impala,” he noted. He added that in all these cases, only three arrests have been made including Batswana and Namibian nationals.
The chairperson also noted with disappointment that despite various government programmes to empower Batswana and eradicate poverty, the number of beneficiaries in the district has increased in this quarter from 806 to 820. “It is surprising to record high numbers of beneficiaries as one would expect to see a declining number of beneficiaries as they graduate and get rehabilitated through other government programmes,” he remarked.