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HOPEFUL: Tsogwane

VP LAUNCHES GAME FARMING GUIDELINES IN MAUN

As part of their efforts to promote optimal use of farming lands, government are looking at ways people can keep game animals at their masimo.

Launching the Game Farming Guidelines in Maun last week, Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane stressed if implemented properly, this would prove a tidy income-generator for communities.

The VP is confident it will enhance tourism opportunities and ultimately stop Batswana from selling their land.

“Many Batswana have shown interest in venturing into game ranching. However, the challenge has been the requirements as stipulated in Game Ranching Policy and high monetary costs associated with the enterprise, especially at start up,” said Tsogwane.

“The guidelines are intended to facilitate the entry of Batswana into the game rearing industry. Those who keep game in their masimo will be able to diversify their income stream, add value to their properties while contributing to wildlife conservation,” he continued.

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On the day, Tsogwane also launched govt’s National Elephant Management Plan.

He proudly pointed out that Botswana is famous for having the largest elephant population in Africa, with the current number sitting between 140, 000 and 155, 000.

“Our successes in managing the elephant population continues to be globally recognized, the latest which is the International World Conservation Union Redlist on elephants released in March 2021, which reported that while the African wide elephant population number was declining, Botswana’s population was increasing!” highlighted Tsogwane.

However, he admitted incidents of human/elephant conflict are also on the rise.

“Conflict incidents have steadily increased by approximately 40 percent. All reported wildlife damage to crops and agricultural fields and boreholes have been attributed to elephants while statistics revealed that between 2009 and 2019, 46 people tragically lost their lives to elephants.”

Outlining the plan’s key points, Tsogwane said they aim to reduce human/elephant conflict by: the use of cluster fencing, provision of water, strategic removal of elephants outside of normal geographic range and harmonization of land use.

For her Part, Batawana Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi implored the residents of Ngamiland to welcome the new initiative of keeping wildlife in their masimo.

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She further challenged the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to be more proactive when facilitating people.

“More often the government comes up with good initiatives which have the potential to improve people’s livelihoods. However, implementation is always an issue,” noted Kgosi Moremi.

Addressing the Kgotla, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng insisted the dual launch is proof of government’s desire to see Batswana benefit from wildlife resources.

“The launch of these two documents is just the beginning of a journey towards empowering our people and enhancing their livelihood through the management and utilization of our wildlife resources.”

Individuals interested in keeping game on their land must apply to the Director of Wildlife and National Parks.

They must also submit a proposal documenting their intentions.

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