Rhino Poaching Remains Challenge

| December 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, also patron of Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS), joined dignitaries and environmental stakeholders at the organisation’s annual gala dinner dance on December 5.

The dinner dance themed: Botswana- Africa’s Safe Haven for Rhino?, was dedicated to celebrating environmental conservation in Botswana especially the preservation and conservation of rhinos as endangered species.

When launching Tlhokomela Botswana Endangered Wildlife Trust at the dinner dance, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama expressed concern that despite much talk, there was little action against rhino poaching and protection of endangered species.

Despite intensive conservation efforts, Mr Khama said poaching of rhinos was dramatically increasing thus pushing the remaining rhinos closer and closer to extinction. Fewer than 30 000 rhinos remained in the wild and around 80 per cent of them were in Southern Africa.

Therefore, the purpose of the trust, he said, was to support the work of government in building the safe environment within the borders of Botswana for the sustainable protection of endangered species.

This, the minister said would be achieved through building a fund or a facility that would manage and best use donations made to Botswana in support of the conservation of endangered species in the country.

As a result of the conservation policies adopted and practiced in Botswana, he said the country was increasingly being identified as a leader in providing a safe environment for endangered species, including their conservation, more especially the rhinos.

However, this extremely privileged position, the minister said brought with it tremendous level of responsibility in bringing about sustainability.

He read out a disturbing statistic, reported by the CNN highlighting a 52 per cent overall decline in the global wildlife population (76 per cent in freshwater species, 39 per cent in terrestrial species and 39 per cent in marine species).

“In this day and age, sustaining a safe and viable environment for endangered species in the face of the challenges that we have, which include corruption, degeneration of the environment, habitat loss, increasing population and pollution, we can no longer stand back and say it is somebody else’s problem,” he added.

Therefore, providing a safe environment in this ever changing landscape, he said, required tremendous levels of commitment in terms of research, innovation and protection. To achieve all this, he said his ministry required the help of all Batswana, conservationists and concerned citizens around the world.

“It is in this spirit of supporting necessary work, such as research, innovation and protection that I have initiated the formation of the Tlhokomela Botswana Endangered Wildlife Trust,” he added.

The minister also noted that there were a number of initiatives lined up to generate awareness for the trust, such as interactive website, Facebook and twitter campaigns, school competitions, gamification initiatives or virtual games.

The fund’s fundraising initiatives began with the auction of six night luxury safari including properties operated by Wilderness Safari, amp Beyond and Great Plains.

The corporate fundraising initiatives were also being developed with some innovative ideas already being investigated, as well as a sponsorship and loyalty programme which would recognise all levels of support made to the Trust.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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