Concerned about the escalating incidents of poaching across the country, a group of young people in Gaborone have teamed up to form an association aimed at tackling poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
The organisation, known as Kgosi Ya Naga (King of the Jungle), was established last year as a public-private partnership (PPP) with the government using a proposal driven strategy.
Founder and chairman, Kagiso Meno said Kgosi Ya Naga aimed to educate the community about poaching and illegal wildlife trade and their impact on the environment, economy and development of the state.
The association also intends to conduct research on the impact of animal poaching on the environment and effective ways of fighting illegal wildlife trade, while empowering the community about the benefit of conservation.
“Our mission is to be the leading innovator in promoting environmental awareness and to build an integrated approach on the challenges facing the wilderness, such as poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
“We also seek to protect endangered species,” explained Meno.
He added that the organisation would provide financial and technical support to the government’s community-based organisations and the private sector.
He further noted that the association’s programmes were developed in consultation with the government, civil society, development partners and private sector.
“This is a registered association, with the aim of building a strong integrated approach on the challenges facing the world, using edutainment to empower the communities, to be able to face the challenges,” he said.
He reiterated that the challenges robbed the state and communities of their natural capital, cultural heritage with serious economic and social consequences. He added that poaching and illegal wildlife trade damaged the health of the ecosystem and the development of the community.
“By educating the communities about the importance of environmental and wildlife conservation and highlighting the link that exists between the two, for a balanced ecosystem that benefit both party, a strong partnership between all the stakeholders needs to be strengthened for this to be achieved,” he urged.
Meno also emphasised the importance of behaviour change communication, noting that it was the strategic input of Kgosi ya Naga into the process of reducing the number of animals poached and deforestation.The latest Interpol report shows that poaching is a huge business worth P84 billion annually. Because most poachers are usually well armed marksmen, the wildlife department has twinned with the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to beef up the numbers plus enhance intelligence gathering. Poaching comprises the illegal removal of wildlife from the environment through hunting either for commercial or subsistence purposes, killing or live capture.