By Ephraim Keoreng
The word poacher derives from the French pocher, which means to bag or put in a bag. In Botswana, and Africa in general, poaching is as old as the continent itself.
"In the past, it was commonplace for the rich, royals and men in villages to poach, but in most cases it was just for meat and animal skins, which they used to supplement their diet at home. But now poaching has become big business in that trans-national syndicates are running big poaching missions in Botswana, Kenya and other areas teeming with wildlife," says a wildlife expert who prefers anonymity.
Anti-Poaching Unit Commander, retired colonel Petrus Manyemba reiterates this, adding that there are now two types of poachers: "There is the subsistence poacher and then there is the commercial poacher, but what we have realised of late is that even the subsistence poacher - who used to just hunt small game like antelope for food - has gone commercial; now they don't just kill for the pot. They kill and sell the biltong of kudus, elands and others. Their biltong as you might be aware, is in high demand," he says.
To understand the mind of the poacher, one needs to take a cursory look at the weaponry, the tactics and the determination of the poachers, most of whom rarely surrender even when surrounded by armed anti-poaching Botswana patrols.
In an interview with this reporter, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila says that they are deeply worried by the situation of poaching in South Africa where, "they are highly skilled and armed to the teeth.
They are more vigilant and even have capabilities of carrying out their crimes from the air with helicopters More....