Jumbo Increase Impoverishes Farmers

| January 15, 2015

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks- Problem Animal Control division, Mr Tabona Ngakane says they have experienced an increase in elephant and predator population in some areas.

Mr Ngakane said in an interview that the increase has been experienced at villages and settlements such as Matsebe cattlepost near the buffalo fence, Shorobe, Makalamabedi and Hainaveld farms.

He said the said animals destroy the fence and cause havoc in the affected areas, noting that his unit had received many complaints but efforts to trace the animals bear no fruits as they return to wildlife management area.

Mr Ngakane warned the community to be cautious as the elephants are coming from all angles and roaming around looking for water and forage, noting that this time they have reached areas which they were never seen at before.

He said some transverse from Namibia while others come from the delta.

He said although Hainaveld farmers are normally terrorised by lions, this time the elephants have reached the place and causing a serious damage. In addition, he said the animals damage infrastructure such as water installations, Jojos and also dig out underground pipes.

Mr Ngakane also revealed that there is a lot of cultivation in fields hence there is a lot of damage especially to farmers who have ventured into Molapo farming just along the river where the elephants drink. He said the situation is exacerbated by some farmers who have closed elephant corridors with their fields, adding that increases humanwildlife conflict.

He said to address the situation, many interventions have been carried out including deployment of patrols to hot spots and opening of an office at Sehithwa where farmers could be attended immediately while there is still evidence.

Mr Ngakane also said they managed to conduct Kgotla meetings in major villages and settlements to encourage the community to use prevention measures on tested conflict mitigation based on elephant deterrents and other approaches to mitigate livestock-predator conflict.

The interventions applied include elephant capsicum deterrents such as chilli pepper, African honey bees while on predator conflict mitigation, interventions such as herding dogs and predator proof kraals were used.

Mr Ngakane said although some farmers complained that the methods applied are not effective, he emphasised the need to use the interventions correctly in order to be effective. He said the interventions had worked wonders in some areas in the Okavango as farmers used them correctly.

The principal wildlife warden, Mr Cosmos Rathipana pointed out that lack of commitment by farmers frustrates their efforts in applying preventive measures. He said they encourage farmers to abandon traditional ways and join hands with wildlife officials to control elephants at night.

He also explained that his department faces challenges in terms of lack of resources, manpower and transport, adding that the terrain is also a challenge as it takes time to attend to some complaints on time as some of the places are islands and if wet it is a problem to reach farmers.

Regarding the issue of conflict between game farming and cattle farming at Hainaveld farms, Mr Rathipana said the issue is multi-sectoral, noting that there is need to harmonise policies to address the situation.

He said the two types of farming were bound to cause such conflicts mainly because they are on the edge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. He said some farmers had suggested that an electric fence be erected to separate the two ranches, but said it is costly.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

Comments are closed.