Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Heftier punishment for poachers coming

Botswana will strengthen the punitive nature of its conservation laws to deter and punish would be poachers through the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act.

Minister responsible for natural resources conservation and tourism, Tshekedi Khama this week confirmed the imminent amendment of the Act.

Tshekedi said that the intention is to gazette the new penalties before the end of this year.

“Illegal wildlife trade continues to pose challenge to efforts to conserve Botswana’s biodiversity. Seizures of ivory have been made during the course of 2017/18, and these products which are ultimately intended for markets in the Far East are fuelled by an insatiable demand despite the best efforts of the international community to combat the illegal trade,” Tshekedi said.

To this end, his ministry has started a process to develop the elephant management plan which will embrace the current management policies in the country, and also responding to the needs of the local community to collaborate in the management and protection of the elephant species.

The instrument for accession to the Agreement on the Conservation of African Eurasian Migratory Water Birds Agreement was signed by President Ian Khama on the 31st May 2017. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks in collaboration with Birdlife Botswana is working on the action plan to facilitate implementation of this agreement.

The implementation is expected to fully take off this financial year 2018/2019.

According to Tshekedi, the Kang Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) camp which is located about 6km from Kang village along Kang- Hukuntsi road is still under construction. The project commenced in March 2017 and will be completed in July 2018.

Here is what the current WCNP Act of 1992 stipulates;

PART II

11. Offences in a national park

( 1) Any person who kills, hunts or captures any animal in a national park shall be guilty of an offence and without derogation from his liability under any other provision of this Act shall be liable to a fine of P10 000 and to imprisonment for 7 years.

( 2) Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any other provision of section 7(1), 8(1) or 10 shall be guilty of an offence and without derogation from his liability under any other provision of this Act shall be liable to a fine of P2 000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

12. Game reserves and sanctuaries

In any game reserve or sanctuary, no person shall hunt or capture any animal, or species or variety, specimen or sex of any animal specified in relation to such game reserve or sanctuary, except only under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit issued under section 39, and any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence and, without derogation from his liability under any other provision of this Act, shall be liable to a fine of P5 000 and to imprisonment for 5 years.

13. Private game reserves

( 3) Within a private game reserve, no person shall hunt or capture any animal or any species or variety of animal which is specified in the order declaring it to be a private game reserve, and any person who contravenes the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of an offence and, without derogation from his liability under any other provision of this Act, shall be liable to a fine of P5 000 and to imprisonment for 5 years:

17. Protected game animals

( 2) No person shall, except only under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit issued by the Director under section 39 or section 40, hunt or capture any protected game animal, and any person who contravenes the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of P10 000 and to imprisonment for 7 years:

Provided that, where the animal in respect of which the offence is committed is a rhinoceros, the offender shall be liable to a fine of P100 000, and to imprisonment for 15 years.

48. Killing of animals by accident or in error

( 3) Where any game animal is killed by accident or in error by any person whilst he is driving a vehicle upon any road, he shall, if he retrieves the animal or any part thereof, as soon as possible, report the killing to the nearest convenient wildlife officer or police station, and shall, if so directed, surrender to such wildlife officer or police station, as the case may be, the animal or such of the parts retrieved by him as may be specified.

( 4) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) or (3) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of P1 000 and to imprisonment for 1 year: Provided that-

( a) where the animal killed is a rhinoceros the offender shall be liable to a fine of P100 000, and to imprisonment for 15 years; and

( b) where the animal killed is an elephant the offender shall be liable to a fine of P50 000, and to imprisonment for 10 years.

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