Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Conservationists vow to protect vultures

A panel discussion surrounding the welfare of vultures vowed to collaborate more closely to ensure society embraces wildlife conservation.

It called for legislation to be implemented and obeyed and that information technology is effectively utilized to reach populace irrespective of disasters such as the occurring Covid-19 pandemic.

The panel comprised Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Kootsositse, Malebogo Somolekae from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Benjamin Noga from Cape Vultures Environmental Association, Morulaganyi Kokole from Cheetah Conservation Botswana and Loitseng Sebetwane from Department of Crop Production. The panel discussion was hosted by Birdlife Botswana at its offices in Kgale siding.

Prior to the panel discussion, Director in the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Dr Kabelo Senyatso had presented the day speech where he informed the nation of the government’s intention to alleviate human/wildlife conflicts. He advised of the utilisation of Trust Fund which is run by his department. The Fund is for use by the communities whose properties are close to the elephants’ habitats.

He also highlighted that the government is in the process of reviewing guidelines for compensation where wildlife, especially carnivores have destroyed people’s farming produce.

The panelists chorused that vultures are important in that they are ‘cleaners’ of the environment. They eat carcasses and in the process remove all negatives brought about by lengthy presence of carcasses on the ground. The extinction of vultures-which is eminent given recent statistics of their deaths, caused by poisoning-leaves the country at risk of animal diseases like anthrax.

According to Kokole, his organization is well known for educating farmers to train dogs to be shepherds.

For his part Sebetwane hinted that the agro chemicals they give to farmers to use on the farms are at times, instead used to poison carcasses. He indicated that they provide training to farmers and those wishing to trade on chemicals and it is also his department’s responsibility to ensure only recommended chemicals get into the country.

Somolekae, head of research at the DWNP emphasized the importance of research in the general life of a vulture. The use of technology is another aspect she deemed crucial.

For the future Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Kootsositse, highlighted that there are important projects which through collaboration with other interested parties his organization would undertake. These are vulture restaurants where the vultures would be fed and would serve also as tourist attraction sites. They would also develop ‘vulture safe’ zones where they would ensure chemicals are not allowed.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.