Preserving Botswana’s eco-heritage

By | Category: Travel destinations

losing 32 elephants to poachers is still 32 too many

In the travel trade show in Berlin this week – ITB – it is Botswana that is being highlighted as a partner to the show.

To most people Botswana means safaris, elephants, rhinos and other wild animals. As well as making more people aware of the country and inspiring them to holiday in Botswana, it is also seeking to make the world aware of its conservation measures, the successes it has had to date and to stimulate governments, organisations and individuals to assist.

Botswana hosts about two-thirds of all the elephants in Africa making it a dream destination for those wanting to see the majestic creatures. But having that many means strong protection measures must be in place to defeat what is becoming the elephant’s main predator – the poacher.

Last year Botswana lost 32 elephants to poachers. Elsewhere in Africa up to a hundred animals are killed each day so the tough measures being used by Botswana are very successful compared to the policies used in other countries. Poachers hunt to kill. Tshekedi Khama who happens to not only be the minister for tourism but also environment, natural resources and conservation, did not deny that if poachers died as a result of being tracked down, it was due to them being ready to kill.

a honey badger promotes Botswana rather than a rhino or elephant

Last year, Botswana lost one rhino to poaching. South Africa lost hundreds Tshekedi Khama said. So successful have efforts been that neighbouring countries have pledged to move 220 rhinos into Botswana in the belief that they will be better protected. Your chances of seeing a rhino in the world would appear to have improved given Botswana’s record in looking after animals.

All this comes at a cost. China has donated $1.7 million; Italy has given €2 million and the Dutch 800,000. No other country says the minister, donates although money is received from other countries for administration.  He says they need helicopters to monitor the herds and spot poachers.  An additional €5-7 million would help enormously. Out of the 25 tourist groups in the country just 2-3 pledge support. He says that support from overseas tour operators is lower.

Mixing all the different portfolios under one minister seems to be working. Conservation of the environment leads to more tourism.

But as Botswana becomes more successful, the poachers may well try harder. Then Botswana will require more outside assistance to combat those whose only interest is short term gain.

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