Elephant invasion scares Khama rhino sanctuary

24 Jun 2019

There are fears that an incursion into the Khama Rhino Sanctuary by scores of elephants could expose rhinos to poachers.

Reports indicate that a considerable number of elephants have broken into the protected area and damaged a security fence in the process.

The situation is not helped by reports that the relationship between Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the government is on the verge of deterioration following unconfirmed allegations that the government wants Former President Ian Khama to be removed as patron.

The board chairperson of the sanctuary Bathusi Letlhare explained that the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a private entity and they do not want to be dragged into politics.

Letlhare said that the entity is independent and they would not allow a situation where they are used for political mileage citing claims that government may attempt to force them remove the former president from his position as their patron.

Letlhare indicated that the board has not yet met with Khama to discuss several issues about the sanctuary following the incursion by elephants.

“We would like to discuss with him and is common knowledge that he is against the government’s decision to lift the hunting ban. Should the government try to persuade us to remove him, we will not allow that to happen,” he said.  

Letlhare however, said as the board they support government’s plans to reduce the number of elephants.

“The board truly supports government on its decision and that should be expedited,” he said.

He said the elephants that broke into the Khama Rhino Sanctuary were in search of water and vegetation left it area exposed and vulnerable.  

“It is true that some herd of elephants invaded the sanctuary and destroyed the security fence that also protects wild animals that are also within the sanctuary,” said Letlhare.

According to Letlhare, it is not the first that the largest mammals invaded their area saying such incidents are common. He said the elephants broke into the area while tourists from South Africa were sleeping in the camping site. He said they were terrified as the elephants were grazing near their tents.

He said they always report such matters to the wildlife department but their turnaround time is wanting. Letlhare alleged that department does not have weapons that they can use to kill elephants and instead they use other means to drive them out the village.

Letlhare added that the department has asked the sanctuary to kill at least two of  the elephants as part of efforts to scare aware the elephants from the vicinity.   

“Unfortunately as the sanctuary we do not have the capacity to embark on such mission. The best thing is to hire a professional hunters to kill at least two as a deterrent,” he said.

Officer Commanding at Serowe police station senior superintendent Agreement Mapeu confirmed that recently herd of elephants were spotted at Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the matter was reported to the wildlife department who are handling the matter

For her part, Central Regional wildlife officer in Serowe Neo Mahupeleng confirmed that they have recorded about three separate incidents in which herd of elephants invaded the sanctuary last month.

She said the elephants destroyed the security fence but there were no wild animals that escaped from the park as the management of the sanctuary acted promptly to repair the fence had been damaged.

Mahupeleng admitted that if the fence was not attended on time chances of the rhinos and other wild animals  escaping were high.

She denied reports that her office in Serowe does not have enough weapons either to scare or kill elephants. “That is not true and my office is well equipped with necessary equipments that may be needed at any given time”

She added the department does not encourage its officers to kill wild animals instead they scare them aware.   Mahupeleng said as the department they are aware that elephants are now all over the country. She pleaded with the public to be patient as government is coming up with a long lasting solution which will be communicated with the public  soon.

Elephant invasion scares Khama rhino sanctuary

REUBEN PITSE

There are fears that an incursion into the Khama Rhino Sanctuary by scores of elephants could expose rhinos to poachers.

Reports indicate that a considerable number of elephants have broken into the protected area and damaged a security fence in the process.

The situation is not helped by reports that the relationship between Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the government is on the verge of deterioration following unconfirmed allegations that the government wants Former President Ian Khama to be removed as patron.

The board chairperson of the sanctuary Bathusi Letlhare explained that the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a private entity and they do not want to be dragged into politics.

Letlhare said that the entity is independent and they would not allow a situation where they are used for political mileage citing claims that government may attempt to force them remove the former president from his position as their patron.

Letlhare indicated that the board has not yet met with Khama to discuss several issues about the sanctuary following the incursion by elephants.

“We would like to discuss with him and is common knowledge that he is against the government’s decision to lift the hunting ban. Should the government try to persuade us to remove him, we will not allow that to happen,” he said.  

Letlhare however, said as the board they support government’s plans to reduce the number of elephants.

“The board truly supports government on its decision and that should be expedited,” he said.

He said the elephants that broke into the Khama Rhino Sanctuary were in search of water and vegetation left it area exposed and vulnerable.  

“It is true that some herd of elephants invaded the sanctuary and destroyed the security fence that also protects wild animals that are also within the sanctuary,” said Letlhare.

According to Letlhare, it is not the first that the largest mammals invaded their area saying such incidents are common. He said the elephants broke into the area while tourists from South Africa were sleeping in the camping site. He said they were terrified as the elephants were grazing near their tents.

He said they always report such matters to the wildlife department but their turnaround time is wanting. Letlhare alleged that department does not have weapons that they can use to kill elephants and instead they use other means to drive them out the village.

Letlhare added that the department has asked the sanctuary to kill at least two of  the elephants as part of efforts to scare aware the elephants from the vicinity.   

“Unfortunately as the sanctuary we do not have the capacity to embark on such mission. The best thing is to hire a professional hunters to kill at least two as a deterrent,” he said.

Officer Commanding at Serowe police station senior superintendent Agreement Mapeu confirmed that recently herd of elephants were spotted at Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the matter was reported to the wildlife department who are handling the matter

For her part, Central Regional wildlife officer in Serowe Neo Mahupeleng confirmed that they have recorded about three separate incidents in which herd of elephants invaded the sanctuary last month.

She said the elephants destroyed the security fence but there were no wild animals that escaped from the park as the management of the sanctuary acted promptly to repair the fence had been damaged.

Mahupeleng admitted that if the fence was not attended on time chances of the rhinos and other wild animals  escaping were high.

She denied reports that her office in Serowe does not have enough weapons either to scare or kill elephants. “That is not true and my office is well equipped with necessary equipments that may be needed at any given time”

She added the department does not encourage its officers to kill wild animals instead they scare them aware.   Mahupeleng said as the department they are aware that elephants are now all over the country. She pleaded with the public to be patient as government is coming up with a long lasting solution which will be communicated with the public soon.