Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Discussion on Elephant Management and poaching topics
User avatar
Lisbeth
Global Moderator
Posts: 43642
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:31 pm
Country: Switzerland
Location: Lugano, Switzerland

Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:41 pm

Image
Dr Mike Chase grimly views a dead elephant. Copyright, Elephants without Borders.

BY LOUISE DE WAAL - 6 AUGUST 2018 - THE SOUTH AFRICAN -

Image
Photo credit: Michael-Lorentz

Last week, the carcass of a 40-year old elephant bull was found in Ngamiland, northern Botswana, partly covered with still green Mopane bushes and half of its skull hacked away by poachers to remove its tusks. The bull was killed during full moon two days earlier.

Elephant poaching

“This recent incident brings the total number of poached elephant carcasses since our elephant survey began to 55. Thirty-three of the poached carcasses we suspect were killed in the last three months, while the remaining 22 are fresh and thought to have been killed within days of each other,” says Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders (EWB).

“The GPS locations of the dead elephants and photographic evidence were provided immediately to the authorities, who had no prior knowledge of these incidents,” Chase states.

Additional poaching incidents have been reported to the authorities, such as the fresh elephant carcass found two weeks ago in Linyanti. This incident was particularly brutal, as the elephant was found with a severed spine to stop it from moving while the poachers hacked its tusks away.

The hunting ban

On the 5th July, EWB and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) started the 2018 wildlife census of northern Botswana, where its core conservation areas are located.

This aerial survey, expected to be completed by October this year, is even more pertinent after a motion was tabled by Maun East MP Mr Kostantinos Markus. Markus proposed to lift the hunting ban on elephants in Botswana in areas outside of game reserves and national parks, especially in marginal rangelands, to reduce human-elephant conflict.

Conservation organisations, such as EWB, say lifting the hunting ban will have little impact on human-elephant conflict, such as crop destruction. Trophy hunting targets mostly large bulls and happens during the dry season, while crops tend to be raided by young bulls or family herds during the rainy season.

On Thursday, the Minister of Natural Resources Conservation, Tshekedi Khama condemned calls by the assistant minister of Presidential Affairs, Mochana Shamukuni, calling on residents of the tourist town of Chobe to shoot elephants on sight for causing damage to their crops.

The decline in the elephant population

The 2014 Great Elephant Census counted a total number of 352,271 Savanna elephants across 18 African countries. It estimated that the overall elephant population has declined by 30% since 2007, which is believed to be primarily due to poaching.

Botswana’s parliament passed the motion on the 21st June, reconsidering the 2014 hunting ban imposed by former president Ian Khama, after surveys showed declining wildlife populations in northern Botswana.

Botswana’s elephant population is estimated at 130,000 and has been stable for the past 15 years, although the population seems to be decreasing in the Chobe area.

What is being done?

The current wildlife survey is planned to establish the latest numbers. However, nobody expected the ongoing survey to highlight an increase in wildlife poaching incidents and especially not this early in the process. The number of fresh poaching carcasses found so far in the 2018 census is already more than recorded during the entire 2014 survey.

Poaching of wildlife and particularly elephant poaching occurs frequently along Botswana’s international borders and mostly foreign nationals have been implicated in ivory poaching and smuggling. However, this new data shows that wildlife poaching is on the increase from within Botswana’s borders and in some cases even close to game drive tracks and safari lodges.

A recent rhino poaching incident in the Ghanzi District, the second rhino poaching incident of the year in this area, is a further example of this trend and emphasises the need for the Botswana government to intensify their anti-poaching efforts.

“On the 17th July, concerned by the increasing numbers of poached elephants the survey team was recording, I wrote a letter to His Excellency President Masisi, requesting his swift response to addressing illegal wildlife trafficking in Botswana,” says Chase.

Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo, Director of the DWNP, responded:

“I convened a meeting of all security forces, with the assistance of the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, to discuss this matter. Unfortunately, we agreed that the proceedings be kept to security forces and DWNP only. Safe to say a plan has been put in place to deal with the matter, but we must agree it involves some other countries and cannot be solved overnight.”

Chase responds, “It is difficult to ascertain how the authorities are responding to this increasing trend. At what stage do we pull our heads out of the sand and admit we have an elephant poaching problem and do something to stop it?”

Read full article: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/conserv ... -botswana/

https://conservationaction.co.za/media- ... -botswana/
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

User avatar
Lisbeth
Global Moderator
Posts: 43642
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:31 pm
Country: Switzerland
Location: Lugano, Switzerland

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:16 pm

Dozens of elephant carcasses found in Botswana, revealing ‘unprecedented’ levels of poaching


BY JUDITH VONBERG & INGRID FORMANEK - 4 SEPTEMBER 2018 - CNN


Image

Almost 90 elephant carcasses have been found during a survey in northern Botswana, revealing “unprecedented” levels of poaching in the country, the conservation group carrying out the study has said.

Just nine carcasses were discovered in total during the last audit of the region in 2014, and Elephants Without Borders is expecting this year’s number to rise further because the organization is only halfway through the study, which began on July 5 and is largely funded by Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

“While we had elephant poaching in the country before this year, it certainly wasn’t of the magnitude that we’re seeing now. It’s completely unprecedented,” Mike Chase, the director and founder of Elephants Without Borders, told CNN.

“We were always warned that the poaching that has happened in East Africa and parts of northern Mozambique may spread south. What I’m astounded by is the scale and the speed at which it has happened.”

Botswana is home to the largest population of elephants in Africa — an estimated 130,000 — and has long been seen as a haven for the animals, which have been heavily poached in nearby Angola and Zambia.

That is now changing, according to Chase. While cases of ivory poaching were previously reported only along the country’s international borders, this latest survey shows that poaching has moved into the Okavango Delta, a prime tourist destination deep inside northern Botswana, suggesting that Botswana citizens are becoming more involved in poaching activities.

Poachers ‘Have Followed’ Elephants to Botswana

Chase attributes the changes to two factors: heavy poaching in Angola and Zambia that has left local populations on the verge of extinction, and the disarming of Botswana’s anti-poaching unit (APU) in May.

Before European colonization, scientists believe that Africa may have held as many as 20 million elephants; by 1979 only 1.3 million remained. The first Great Elephant Census, a pan-African survey of the continent’s savanna elephants in 2016, revealed that the situation had gotten far worse.

Between 2007 and 2014, numbers plummeted by at least 30%, or 144,000 elephants, the census found.

Image
The Great Elephant Census, first conducted in 2016, revealed that the number of elephants across Africa was falling rapidly.

In Botswana, elephants were long thought to be safe. Members of an armed anti-poaching unit patrolled the elephants’ habitats, while Botswana’s military was mobilized throughout the border region, tasked with preventing poaching.

In May this year, the anti-poaching unit was disarmed as part of a broader action in which military weapons and equipment were withdrawn from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), according to a government statement.

Unarmed patrolmen cannot be expected “to patrol and possibly have contact with armed poachers,” Chase said, adding that he had not seen any members of the APU in the bush during the first two months of the survey.

Asked by CNN Tuesday about the disarming of the APU and the rise in elephant poaching in Botswana, Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo, director of the DWNP, declined to comment but said the government would soon be releasing a statement on the issue.

Heavy poaching in Angola is also contributing to the current problems in Botswana, according to EWB.

“Those elephants that weren’t killed are moving back to the safety of Botswana, and the poachers have followed them,” Chase said.

Image
Botswana has often been referred to a haven for elephants, but Chase said there is now evidence of a high poaching rate.

Demand for Ivory Despite Bans

In January this year, China enacted a ban on the sale of ivory products. It followed a near-total embargo by the United States in 2016, and the UK is currently considering introducing “one of the world’s toughest” bans on ivory sales in a bid to protect elephants. The European Union has yet to enact an ivory ban.

But demand remains for the luxury product and Chase warned against complacency.

The initial results of EWB’s survey suggest poachers are primarily targeting the largest, oldest bulls in the population, known as great tuskers. The ivory is hacked away by a sharp axe and the carcasses covered with bushes in an attempt to conceal the kill, according to Chase. Numbers of great tuskers across Africa have dwindled to about 50, according to various estimates by conservationists.

It is also clear that poachers are moving into increasingly remote areas areas to hunt elephants. Six carcasses were discovered Monday during an aerial patrol in one of the region’s least accessible areas, Chase said.

Threat to Tourism

Botswana’s wildlife attracts large numbers of visitors, and tourism is the country’s second-largest earner.

The surge in poaching potentially threatens not only a major source of Botswana’s income, but also its reputation as a conservation leader on the continent.

The rising elephant deaths and the poaching of six rhinos in Botswana this year suggests that the killings may be the work of organized syndicates.

Read full article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/04/africa/b ... index.html
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

User avatar
Flutterby
Site Admin
Posts: 39002
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:28 pm
Country: South Africa
Location: Gauteng, South Africa

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Flutterby » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:20 pm

:-( :-(

stefan9
Posts: 457
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:08 pm
Country: SA

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by stefan9 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:10 pm

Very sad

User avatar
RogerFraser
Site Admin
Posts: 3621
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:36 pm
Country: South Africa
Location: Durban

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by RogerFraser » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:15 pm

BWgovernment
September 4 at 6:59 PM
RESPONSE REGARDING THE ALLEGED INDISCRIMINATE KILLING OF ELEPHANTS IN BOTSWANA
40684326_1835868479829135_1812700469219295232_n.jpg
40912882_1835868863162430_8987266208441040896_o.jpg

The Government of Botswana has noted with concern unsubstantiated and sensational media reports on elephant poaching statistics in Botswana carried by some local and international media attributed to Elephants Without Borders (EWB), a non-governmental organisation contracted by the Botswana Government to carry out the dry season aerial survey of elephants and wildlife in northern Botswana covering Chobe, Okavango, Ngamiland and North Central District. The stories allege that about 90 elephants have been indiscriminately killed recently.

To this end, the Government of Botswana wishes to inform members of the public and other key stakeholders that these statistics are false and misleading. At no point in the last months or recently were 87 or 90 elephants killed in one incident in any place in Botswana.

The Government of Botswana wishes to further inform that the survey conducted by EWB started on 5th July 2018 and is expected to end by 30th September 2018.

During the conduct of the survey from 5th July up to 1st August 2018, EWB reported that they had come across 53 elephant carcasses which were incidents that had already been cumulatively reported officially to the Government as early as July and August of this year.

Of the aforementioned 53 reported, a verification mission between July and August established that the majority were not poached but rather died from natural causes and retaliatory killings as a result of human and wildlife conflicts.
The Government of Botswana wishes to state that it is unfortunate that some media reports attribute the rise in elephant poaching primarily to the withdrawal of weapons from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) anti-poaching unit. The fact of the matter is that the withdrawal of such weapons from DWNP, did not in any way affect the effectiveness and operations of the anti-poaching units.

It should be noted that the Government of Botswana has from the 1980’s directed all security agencies to commit resources towards anti-poaching, a practice that continues to this date. Therefore the withdrawal of weapons from DWNP has not created any vacuum in anti-poaching operations as the anti-poaching unit in DWNP continues to play a pivotal role in combating wildlife crime through other strategic interventions.

Furthermore the public is informed that withdrawing weapons from DWNP is in line with the existing legislation which does not allow the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to own such weapons. This action was taken whilst corrective measures are to be undertaken.

In conclusion, the Government of Botswana wishes to condemn in the strongest terms possible attempts by individuals or groups who give a false impression that they love Botswana wildlife more than citizens of Botswana. Government wishes to reiterate the fact that wildlife remains a national heritage and our citizens will protect it at all costs.

Thank you.

[Signed]
Thato Y. Raphaka
PERMANENT SECRETARY

User avatar
Richprins
Committee Member
Posts: 55436
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 3:52 pm
Location: NELSPRUIT

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Richprins » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:15 pm

Who to believe? -O-
Please check Needs Attention pre-booking: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=322&t=596

User avatar
Lisbeth
Global Moderator
Posts: 43642
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:31 pm
Country: Switzerland
Location: Lugano, Switzerland

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Lisbeth » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:29 pm

We all know that medias tend to choose the most scandalous version of any news O**
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

User avatar
Lisbeth
Global Moderator
Posts: 43642
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 12:31 pm
Country: Switzerland
Location: Lugano, Switzerland

Re: Elephant poaching on the increase in Botswana

Post by Lisbeth » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:22 am

After elephant killings, Botswana mulls lifting hunting ban

2018-09-12 21:22 AFP

Botswana launched a review on Wednesday of a 2014 hunting ban imposed to reverse a decline in elephants and other wildlife.

The prohibition on big game sports hunting was the work of ex-president Ian Khama, a keen conservationist, to shield species decimated by hunting and habitat loss.

But lawmakers from the ruling Botswana Democratic party have been lobbying to overturn the ban, especially on elephant hunting, saying populations have become unmanageably large in parts - placing the animals on a collision course with humans.

Khama's successor, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, launched a month of nationwide consultations on Wednesday that could ring in the end of the ban.

Consultations with different interest groups, in the tourism hub of Maun, "commence this afternoon," Rural Development Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi told AFP.

"President Masisi is scheduled to meet researchers. Tomorrow he will address a kgotla (traditional gathering)."

The review comes five months after Khama relinquished power to Masisi, and just days after a wildlife charity said about 90 elephants were slaughtered for their tusks in Botswana in recent months.

Masisi's government rejected Elephants Without Borders' claims of a pachyderm massacre.

With its unfenced parks and wide open spaces, landlocked Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, at over 135 000.

The number of elephants on the continent has fallen by around 111 000 to 415 000 in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

Return to “Elephant Management and Poaching”