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Researchers say hunting can reduce human-wildlife conflict

Hunting can reduce human-animal conflict, a research by two university lecturers, has revealed.

A study which was published on Tuesday this week, Lelokwane Mokgalo of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and professor of tourism at the University of North West in South Africa, Peet Van Der Merwe suggests that the human-wildlife conflict that escalated last year especially during the drought season was due to the hunting ban.

“The study found that both communities experienced challenges as a result of the ban on trophy hunting. The participants decry an increase in the number of wildlife in the areas and expressed that this has led to an escalation of human-wildlife conflict. This conflict involves mostly elephants, kudus, antelopes and buffaloes which invaded people’s farms,” reads part of the report.

The two researchers said they picked two communities, Mmadinare in Bobirwa area and Sankuyo in Ngamiland for the study.

They further interviewed former professional hunters and tourism guides in these areas.

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Their focus however was on trophy hunting and how the hunting ban impacted communities in those areas.

“The result was that almost half of the participants (47.8%) in both communities expressed that their attitudes were negative towards wildlife as a result of escalation in such conflicts,” they stated.

The researchers conclusion was that this puts the sustainability of wildlife resources in jeopardy.

The study involved 400 people in Sankoyo and 12000 in Mmadinare.

The two researchers stated that they support trophy hunting and wish the government can include other animals in the hunting quotas as well.

“Our research supports this and further recommends the lifting of the ban on the remaining animals listed under the ban. This can help to alleviate challenges experienced by households in communities like Sankuyo, where trophy hunting was a key source of income. The lifting of the ban will also reverse the negative attitudes within communities that threaten conservation efforts.”

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They further revealed that since the start of trophy hunting operations in 1996 in Botswana, the practice has grown steadily with the industry employing an estimated 1,000 people, receiving 350 hunters annually and selling more than 5,500 hunting days per year.

“In 2011, a year before the trophy hunting ban was announced in the country, the industry netted Botswana US$20 million in revenue annually from 2,500 animals sold to trophy hunters. Botswana specialised in big game such as elephants, buffalo and leopard which generated higher hunting fees from few animals,” the research further revealed.

Hunting ban in Botswana was however introduced in 2014 and lifted in 2018.

The study is published in The Conversation, which is funded by international groups including the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa.

It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation mentioned as a Strategic Partner.

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