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Hunting ban causes 200 job losses

Publishing Date : 22 December, 2014

Author : JOSEPH KGAMANYANE



The recent hunting ban of January 2014 by the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) has left community trusts in the Ngamiland district bankrupt.

According to officials Trusts have already lost money amounting to P7 million in the last twelve months because of the hunting ban. They also explain that close to 200 jobs have been lost as a result of the ban, and there are fears that more retrenchments could come.
 
A report prepared by the Ngamiland trusts indicate that the Mababe Zokotsama Community Development Trust had an income drop from P3.5 million to P500 000 - and shedding around 30 jobs; Sankoyo Tshwaragano Management Trust’s income dropped from P3.5 million to P1.8 million, experiencing 35 job losses; Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust’s income fell from P4.8 million to P2.5 million and about 40 people lost their jobs. The report also indicates that trusts in other regions of Seronga/Gudigwa, Phuduhudu and Xaixai experienced job losses totaling to about 80 jobs.

Ngamiland CBNRM forum through its steering committee on May 2013 submitted their concerns to the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism. They shared on different matters affecting the district’s CBNRM but top of the list was the issue of “hunting ban”.

Late last year, MEWT issued a ban on hunting of wildlife in all controlled hunting areas in Botswana which was effective from early January this year. The Ministry’s decision came after a detailed research on aerial surveys which were conducted by Mike Chase of Elephants without Borders, whose findings indicated that the country is experiencing a decline in wild animal species.

MEWT explained that the cause of the decline was likely due to a combination of factors such as anthropogenic impacts, including illegal offtake and habitat fragmentation or loss.

However Ngamiland CBNRM submitted to the Ministry that the forum appreciates that some wildlife species are indeed declining as per the report, however they pointed out that the same report concluded that wildlife species like elephants & buffalo are increasing.   

The forum members complained that the two species are a threat to the agriculture sector in the Northern part of Botswana (as Elephants destroy crops while Buffalos transmit Foot and Mouth Disease to cattle).  The forum recommended that the hunting ban should exempt Elephants and Buffalos.

The Ngamiland district is reported to have still remained the cornerstone of CBNRM in the country with more than twenty (20) legally registered Community Based organizations (CBOs) or Trusts.

Eight of these CBOs have been leased Wildlife Management Areas and derive benefits from the use of natural resources within their areas of licensing. CBNRM is a development approach that supports natural resources conservation and management while ensuring that the rural communities do benefit from the natural resources.

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