Chobe District residents have expressed support for the lifting of the hunting ban. Kgosi Bafedile Lesoma said at a kgotla meeting in Kasane recently that prior to the 2014 prohibition, cases of wild animals killing people were uncommon.
Kgosi Lesoma called for the reintroduction of controlled hunting in order to minimise the human-wildlife conflict.
Many others echoed his sentiments at the Kgotla meeting facilitated by Messrs Kitso Mokaila and Bagalatia Arone, who are members of the cabinet sub-committee on the hunting ban social dialogue.
David Mbanga said hunting should not only benefit professional hunters but also residents of different villages. Mbanga suggested that a hunting quota awarded to Chobe District should be divided according to the number of villages to avoid disadvantaging others.
Edgar Moyo said revoking the hunting ban would help the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) handle problem animals better as it is currently overwhelmed by the wildlife population. Moyo also asked for a review of the bird licence, saying it should be upgraded to the level of small game in order for it to be open throughout the year.
Sangwana Sangwana thanked the government for the consultation, saying the public is aggrieved that the decision to ban hunting was implemented without any discussion. He proposed that Elephant Without Borders be banned from operating in Botswana, saying its recent allegations had hurt the country and impacted negatively on tourism.
Chite Tshegane suggested that when hunting is reintroduced, the country should benchmark against countries such as China on the use of ivory so to ensure that wildlife benefits communities through the creation of employment opportunities.
Edison Ramonkga noted that the hunting ban resulted in a spike in the number of elephants, which in turn led to a spike in fatal incidents between people and the animals. He said since the ban, 12 people were killed by elephants. Ramonkga said consulting people through kgotla meetings was not enough, saying a referendum would have been better.
While supporting the lifting of the ban, Poniso Shamukuni said the government should strike a balance between photographic and hunting safaris to avoid affecting the country’s tourism industry negatively. He said the negative effects of elephants on the environment should also be taken into consideration, saying they feed on all types of trees leaving other species without nourishment.
Shamukuni said all stakeholders should be consulted on the hunting ban.
In response, the Minister of Basic Education, Arone (pictured right) explained that the law stipulates that animals posing any danger to people’s lives should be killed.
He said the consultation is designed to give people the opportunity to have a say. Minister Arone explained that a referendum is the last consultative stage on constitutional matters, arguing that kgotla meetings are still appropriate.
Meanwhile, Mokaila (pictured left) explained that the lifting of the hunting ban would not cause any conflict between photographic and hunting safaris as the latter is seasonal and the former perennial. Mokaila also said hunting would take the form of trophy hunting in unproductive animals.