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Illegal fishermen hijack govt drought relief

BONIFACE KEAKABETSE
Lake Ngami
MAUN: Government interventions to battle the continuing drought in the area have apparently been hijacked for the purposes of illegal fishing activities at Lake Ngami, Mmegi has learnt.

On Monday, North West District Council Chairperson, Reaboka Mbulawa said since the introduction of the subsidised feeds, as part of the drought relief, many salt bags procured to feed cattle had been sold to illegal fishers.

“I am so worried because after the introduction of subsidised stock feeds a lot of salt bags procured were not used for the intended purpose but were instead used for illegal fishing,” he said.

“This has caused the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board to put up measures to arrest the situation in the wake of the heightened abuse. Part of the interventions by the Board involve allowing farmers to buy only 50 bags of salt per week to avoid misuse for illegal fishing,” he said.

On other issues, Mbulawa lamented about the low level of cleanliness in Maun village, placing the blame for the filth on fun lovers whom he said indiscriminately litter popular river spots such as the Big Tree area, Shashe Spot and the New Bridge area.

“There is nothing wrong with these places being used for leisure but our failure to tame these places and keep them clean leaves a lot to be desired,” Mbulawa said.

“We have all sorts

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of environmental degradation including the turning of some of these sensitive spots into car washes where public transport buses, taxis and private cars are washed. This may pollute the environment, water and affiliated bio-diversity which are dependent on the river,” he said.

Mbulawa also called on the Ngamiland community to stand against cases of vultures poisoning, which are gaining currency in the district.

He appealed to the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and the Directorate of Intelligence Services to extend their focus from elephant and rhino poaching to the poisoning of vultures.

According to Mbulawa between May and August around 156 vultures were poisoned, with 103 of them in August alone. 

He stated that there is a link between elephant poaching and the vulture poisoning.

“Ngamiland will be worse off without these birds and the whole country is counting on us to stop these problems,” he said.

The council chairpersonj said poaching was on the rise in the district, with 11 elephant carcasses discovered recently without tusks and no arrests made. On the cases of human and wildlife conflict, he revealed that elephants killed two people while a hippo in the Seronga area attacked another.



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