By Tsaone Basimanebotlhe
Parliament has requested the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama to review the hunting ban that was imposed on January 1, 2014.
The members believe that elephants have multiplied too much and are now terrorising farmers. Botswana has over 200,000 elephants. Chobe MP Ronald Shamukuni told Parliament on Monday that residents of Chobe were no longer ploughing because elephants were terrorising them.
“Many fields in my area have been destroyed by elephants. The disappointing thing is that even the government is taking long to compensate those farmers.
“Nothing seems to be done about these elephants. I am pleading with the minister to find ways to reduce the number of elephants in our area,” Shamukuni said. They knock down fences, trample farmers’ crops, scare people and consume so much vegetation, he added.
He said it was time for government to compensate farmers who stayed long without being paid. Shamukuni said the ministry should find ways in which elephants could generate money and part of the money should be used to compensate farmers.
Meanwhile Khama said his ministry remained concerned with the number of human-wildlife conflict incidents.
“Several challenges hamper efforts to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and the expeditious payment of compensation. These include the reluctance of farmers to adopt appropriate mitigation methods, an expectation that compensation will be paid even when good livestock husbandry practices have not been adopted and a shortage of resources and manpower to cover vast areas under the jurisdiction of my ministry,” Khama said.
He said the P4,560,000 made available for compensation during the 2014/15 financial year was far less than the required amount. Khama said this resulted in many farmers remaining unpaid while additional funds were being sourced.
He said as a way of reducing costs, several strategies were being employed to mitigate losses of livestock and property due to wildlife, some of which were piloted in the Northern Botswana Human Wildlife Coexistence project.
The minister admitted that during the current financial year, 6,110 wildlife damage incidents have been reported.