“SADC victim of its own success” – Kereng

Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been doing a good job in wildlife conservation, Kereng have said.

According to the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, and Tourism- Philda Nani Kereng, SADC has been doing good in wildlife conservation, but now management styles which the countries use are often condemned.

“Our arguments for sustainable utilization of our wildlife resources, are being countered on multiple fronts. SADC member states in particular are inadvertently penalized for the excellent measures they have put in place so as to realize the increasing elephant populations across most of the SADC member states. The SADC region has become victim of its own success and this calls for concerted efforts in order for us to make headway.” Kereng lamented.

This comes after Botswana was condemned by most of the western countries for lifting the ban on trophy hunting for a specified period and conditions. This was done to address the human-wildlife conflicts which existed in some parts of the country.

Meanwhile the Minister noted that Botswana is still committed to wildlife conservation, especially in light of promotion of wildlife economic contribution. The initiatives of the ministry according to the Minister include;

  • The National Elephant Management Plan launched in April 2021 and already being implemented. An annual work-plan which ends in March 2022 has been developed, covering: law enforcement capacitation; mitigation of human-elephant conflict including at least 100 km of elephant-proof fences; review of Conservation Trust Fund to increase the funding streams; and reforms to the management of the Special Elephant Quota to increase benefits derived from the elephant off-take.
  • Guidelines for keeping of game in agricultural holdings launched in April 2021 to increase the participation of ordinary citizens in the wildlife economy. Through this programme, owners of agricultural holdings, and other multiple-use properties that can support small herds of wildlife, are encouraged to keep wildlife, both for consumptive and non-consumptive uses.
  • The National Anti-Poaching Strategy, expected to be finalized before 30 November 2021, to guide law enforcement interventions for the period 2021 to 2026.
  • Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park Management plans expected to be launched at the end of November 2021. These strategic documents will provide guidance on how these key components of the KAZA TFCA landscape can be optimally managed to derive the most socio-economic benefits out of them.
  • The National Leopard Management Plan, expected to be finalized and launched during the first quarter of 2023. As a strategic component of the Management Plan, a country-wide leopard survey is planned to start in mid-2022. Details will be provided at one of the sessions during this AWCF.
  • Sections of Botswana Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act of 1992 are being amended to improve its alignment to CITES.

Kereng further acknowledged other countries on their efforts, and strategies in wildlife conservation which are proving to be bearing fruits. For instance, the largest population of elephants is said to be found in SADC.

“It’s evident that Botswana Government and its partners are actively working on many initiatives that encompass the spirit and intent of the AWCF. I learn with great admiration that fellow participants are also engaged similar strategic planning and intervention implementation in their respective countries and organizations.” Minister Kereng noted.

The Minister was speaking on the occasion of the 19th African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) recently. AWCF was conceived in 2002 at Kasane by a dedicated corps of African Wildlife Government officials.

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