MAUN: Ngamiland Regional Wildlife Coordinator Dimakatso Ntshebe says he is worried by the behavior of game meat lovers in the area.
Wildlife officials from the Problem Animal Control Unit had their hands full as they tried to control a mob with insatiable appetites at the sight of a slaughtered elephant on Sunday.
The officer said whenever edible wild animals are killed in the area they are thronged by crowds.
Ntshebe stated that on that particular Sunday Covid-19 health protocols were not observed. Some people had either taken their face masks off or not wearing them at all.
The place was so congested that some people nearly engaged in fist fights as they wanted to have their share of the elephants’ meat as they usually get it for free.
He said from time to time his officers were burdened with the task of having to alert people to keep away and take precaution as they are duty bound to act in the interest of the people and their safety.
He warned that should the public still fail to behave whenever such incidents happen in the future, then the department will be left with no option but to dispose animals in a manner that will not favor members of the public. One of the options they might consider as a department, he said, will be to burn the whole carcass of whatever animal would have been killed or to take it elsewhere to feed scavengers.
“The people started giving us problems even before we managed to kill the elephant. They were running from one end to the other trying to have a glimpse of the whole thing. What they might not understand is that these are problem animals which are dangerous and therefore a threat even to human life,” he said.
His other concern was that even his officers were at risk of falling victim of the animal considering that the more they tried to drive it out the more it charged at them. He said people must learn to reduce noise first and foremost because this alone confuses and angers the animals even more as they are generally sensitive species. “We have come across incidents whereby people would be shouting and dogs barking at the same time. As much as we cannot control dogs barking and people shouting out of fear especially when they least expect to see animals in their midst, our wish is that they should try all they can to control their emotions and co-exist. They must also alert us on time for quick responses”.
By Monday morning they still didn’t know the amount of damage caused by the elephant.
“This is a rainy season, therefore there is no way that the animals can prefer water from water points in the village while there is more in the delta. I just take these as unfortunate incidents whereby stray animals find themselves at the wrong places and at the wrong time,” he said.
Nevertheless, Maun residents believe that it is highly likely that there will be less animal movements now that the hunting season is about to start in the first quarter of April because it is during these times that the animals always find refuge within the buffalo fence. He stressed the need for public education especially on matters regarding human wildlife conflict as well as co-existence at wild life management areas and other areas within the delta known to be sensitive areas.