Drought increases wildlife, water supply problems in North West

Botswana: A hippo seeks what little respite it can from the dry, cracked mud
Botswana: A hippo seeks what little respite it can from the dry, cracked mud

MAUN: El-Niño induced drought, both hydrological and otherwise, has exacerbated problems of human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and water supply shortages in Ngamiland.

The crisis was highlighted by the North West District Council chairperson, Itumeleng Kelebetseng during the recent opening of the Full Council meeting in Maun. He noted increased incidents of human-wildlife conflict as more wild animals move into settlement areas in search of water and forage due to low rainfall in the last season, which has resulted in dried rivers, lagoons, and water bodies. “We are seeing an escalation of reports of wild animals intruding farming land and causing damage to property, killing livestock and generally being a nuisance to communities due to scarcity of water,” he said. This concern is borne out of the incident on Wednesday where five elephants, probably in search of water, fell into Boro prisons’ sewage pond and had to be pulled out. Last week, problem elephants had to be put down in the vicinity of the private abattoir in the Kgantshang area.

The effects of drought have also seen dangerous hippopotamus being stranded in dried riverbeds and lagoons In the short-term, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) is providing water and feed to many hippos at lagoons in Nxaraga village, some 35km west of Maun. Due to slow flooding of Xudum channel that feeds into Kunyere River that passes through Nxaraga and the unsustainability of feeding exercise, the wildlife department is even proposing to relocate some hippos into the Okavango Delta where there is still sufficient water. The drought situation has also seen poaching become rife. Anti-poaching efforts to contain the situation are being hampered by the shortage of vehicles and aerial support for the wildlife department. Kelebetseng said “both commercial and subsistent poaching seem to be rising at the same rate, with antelopes, giraffes and elephants being greatly targeted. Predators such as lions and crocodiles are also being killed unlawfully for collection of their nails and bones for use in what seems like ritual practices.” He noted that the wildlife department and other law enforcement agencies are combating elephant poaching, which is concentrated in the northern parts of Ngamiland and is believed to be perpetrated mainly by foreign individuals from neighbouring countries.

Editor's Comment
CoA brings sanity to DIS/DCEC long-standing feud

This decision follows the raiding of the office of the former Director General of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo early 2022 and his staff officer by the DIS operatives who reportedly took files that they had targeted.After all back and forth arguments, the CoA has set the record straight giving an invaluable lesson to the DIS that it was no super security organ and it does not have any powers to cogently supervise other security organs including the...

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