Wednesday, November 25, 2020

DISASTER OFFICE ALLAYS FACEBOOK FEARS OF NGAMI ‘CATASTROPHE’

Government has allayed fears of a looming crisis in the Ngamiland as some of the Okavango Delta tributaries dry up due to drought.

The Disaster Management Office (DMO) explained this week that there was no need for panic contrary to social media claims that hundreds of cattle and wildlife species such as hippos have been trapped in the mud after the Lake Ngami dried up.

The Disaster Management Office confirmed reports of cattle being stuck in the mud of the drying Lake Ngami but maintained that not a single hippo has ever been stuck in the mud.

The DMO said the issue could have been blown out of proportion by the social media.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Acting Director Moemi Batshabang emphasised that the alleged imminent disaster at Lake Ngami was blown out of proportion. Batshabang indicated that there were no hippos that were trapped at Lake Ngami as alleged on social media.

“A hippo never gets stuck in the mud. There is no single picture on social media showing hippos stuck in the mud. What we have seen is that a number of cattle were trapped in the mud,” said Batshabang.

He further stated that they are monitoring the situation in Lake Ngami and they have been providing water to hippos. He said hippos are moving out heading towards Xharaga and as such they will no longer supply water to Lake Ngami.

Batshabang went further to explain that they have drilled boreholes to provide more than 100 hippos with water in the western part of the delta.

He refuted claims that 10 hippos died in Xharaga due unavailability of water explaining that the ten hippos died due to fighting over territory.

He said the department will continue to monitor the situation where wildlife is in dire need of water. Batshabang told Sunday Standard that they have relocated most of hippos in Thamalakane River to areas where there is water in the delta to avoid possible human-wildlife conflicts when hippos try to search for pasture and water in the village.

DMO, spokesperson Tebogo Modiakgotla confirmed that the issue of drought in Lake Ngami and villages within the Okavango river basin is under control and has never been escalated to their office.

He indicated that in crisis situation stakeholders such as Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and Ministry of Agriculture would escalate the issue to the Disaster Management Office. So far the situation has not reached that stage and the two ministries have not escalated the issue to a disaster because they are able to contain it.

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The Telegraph November 25

Digital edition of The Telegraph, November 25, 2020.