BDF intensifies endangered species war

GP Correspondent

Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) anti-poaching units continue to intensify their operations, encountering more casualties in the process.

Four more poachers have been reported dead, this week, in three separate incidents.  

“The incidents which happened over a period of seven days between 22 and 29 June 2020, involved an exchange of fire with armed poachers. The contact areas were Mombo in the Chiefs Island, Kurunxaraga and Selina spillway in the general area of Linyanti,” said Tebo Kacho Dikole, BDF Colonel.

Colonel Dikole bemoaned that the alarming surge of rhinoceros poaching in the Okavango Delta and poachers continue to resort to the adoption of ruthless tactics, targeting members of the BDF.

“Since the commencement of the year 2020, sixteen armed poachers have been killed,” said Dikole adding that the BDF’s anti-poaching units will continue to execute their task of protecting endangered species.

Meanwhile, the mysterious death of more than 350 elephants in areas adjacent to the Okavango Delta remains a concern and conservation disaster for the country.

Statistics indicate that the national elephant herd is more than 130,000 elephants, with Okavango Delta being home to over 15,000 elephants.

Authorities in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism first reported the puzzling death of elephants in the Seronga and Eretsha villages in the North-West of the country, adjacent the Okavango Delta in March.

Oduetse Koboto, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism announcing the death of 56 elephants on the 19th of May said veterinary officers have ruled out the possibility of poaching because all carcasses of the elephants were found intact.

“A total of 12 deaths were recorded last week compared to 44 that were registered on 18th March, 2020,” said Koboto, adding that the mysterious deaths of elephants occurred in Seronga and Eretsha .

Investigations regarding the cause of deaths are currently ongoing, whilst surveillance operations are underway to trace any more dead elephants.