Botswana’s herbivores are among the biggest losers following the hunting ban that was imposed by the former President Khama administration ÔÇô researchers have pointed out.
A presentation by Professor Joseph Mbaiwa of Tourism Studies, Okavango Research Institute made to the recent to the International Wildlife Conservation Council revealed that Giraffes are among wildlife species adversely affected by increased illegal poaching in Botswana following the banning of legal hunting several years ago.
Professor Mbaiwa’s report was published in the South African Geographical Journal, which is a peer-reviewed journal. One of his peers President of Safari Club International President Paul Babaz commented that, “It is obvious to me that a lack of hunting is a cause for the decline in giraffe numbers.”
Professor Mbaiwa stated that “Illegal hunting incidents are reported to be on the increase in most parts of Northern Botswana…. one of the possible explanations for the recent estimated declines in the populations of some medium and large herbivore species (such as impala, tsessebe, zebra, kudu, giraffe, and lechwe) is increased pressure from illegal hunting by inhabitants of villages and settlements in and surrounding the Okavango Delta.”
“SAIEA (Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment) argues that it is conceivable that 4000 wild animals are being harvested illegally each year in the Okavango Delta,” the paper continues. “Illegal hunting for meat may be the most significant factor to account for the recent declines in herbivore species in the Okavango Delta. Therefore, there is need for poaching to be prevented to maintain viable populations of targeted ungulates in Northern Botswana.”
Prof. Mbaiwa’s report also outlined how illegal poaching decreased after hunting was instituted in Botswana during the past century ÔÇô before the hunting ban several years ago.