Wildlife torments residents

As the summer season creeps in, residents of Sepako, Manxotai, Maposa and other surrounding areas are faced with the battle against wild animals, especially elephants and buffaloes.

These animals are said to be coming from the outskirts of these villages and most probably from the neighbouring Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

These dangerous animals roam the villages in search of water as such end up in close proximity to human beings causing havoc by destroying wells and endangering people’s lives.

A regional wildlife officer for the Central District, Ms Onalenna Kgathi confirmed in an interview that they recently received a report about the influx of elephants and buffaloes at Sepako, Manxotai and other neighbouring villages.

“We always experience an influx of these wild animals especially during summer and for the past few weeks the situation has been tense,” she said.

Ms Kgathi explained that the animals gather at some water sources in the outskirts of these villages, and that once the water sources dry up they move to the villages in search of water.

“As they move closer they run rampant in the villages, causing havoc and making residents live in fear for their safety,” she said.

Ms Kgathi highlighted that as they keep coming closer, residents were left with no option but to fight for themselves.

Ms Kgathi further explained that wildlife officials, the Botswana Defence Force and other stakeholders work tirelessly to come up with ways to help stabilise the situation.

“The movement of these animals is not an easy task to deal with, however, we are working with other stakeholders to drive the animals away from the villages,” she said.

She said some of the strategies they have implemented include patrolling the bush and providing water to some of the selected drinking spots in the outskirts of these villages.

“We have been patrolling around the villages on a daily basis to check any irregularities, and we have been sensitising communities and encouraging them to report any unusual movement of these animals,” she said.

For his part, Kgosi Joseph Ramaditse of Sepako expressed concern that as elephants come in close proximity to humans they become prone to poaching.

He said there were wire traps in the bush which they believe were used by poachers to trap wild animals.

Meanwhile, one of the residents of Sepako, 58-year-old Mr Gabaibone Xhamare also noted that the battle against elephants was a way of life he has known for ages. He said they also keep coming with strategies that could help scare elephants away.

“Elephants are scared of loud noise, we sometimes resort to create noise by beating drums or making continuous banging sounds so as to scare them away,” he said.

He also highlighted that elephants with calves were more dangerous.

He said whenever they were in the bush they always try to go against the wind to make it difficult for wild animals to detect their smell.