The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conversation and Tourism has no plans to lift hunting suspension imposed four years ago, Chief Public Relations and Information Officer Alice Mmolawa has said.
Mmolawa told Sunday Standard recently that the ban was supported by a survey which showed that that several species such as Lechwe, springbok, wildebeest and giraffe had declined in the Okavango delta and southern west Botswana.
Despite the reluctance by the government to lift the ban, it is said to be haunting the livelihoods of the affected communities.
Economical data availed in mid 2017 showed that community Trusts lost money amounting to P7 million in the last 24 months because of the hunting ban. The reports also revealed that close to 200 jobs have been lost because of the ban, and there are fears that more retrenchments could occur.
The consequences were fully explicated at the Kalahari Conservation Society’s Annual General Meeting(AGM) held at Mokolodi Nature Reserve on June 3rd, 2017.
During his presentation, titled ‘Hunting Ban- The Aftermath’, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa, expounded the results of government’s decision to establish the hunting ban. He said community Trusts in the Ngamiland district was left bankrupt after the introduction of the hunting ban.
A report prepared by the Ngamiland Trusts indicate that the Mababe Zokotsama Community Development Trust experienced a decline in income from P3.5million to P500 000 and shed around 30 jobs; Sankoyo Tshwaragano Management Trust’s income dropped from P3.5 million to P1.8 million, experiencing 35 job losses; Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust’s income fell from P4.8 million to P2.5 million and about 40 people lost their jobs.
The report also indicates that Trusts in other regions of Seronga/Gudigwa, Phuduhudu and Xaixai experienced job losses totalling to about 80 jobs.
At the same time, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks reports that human-wildlife conflicts rose nationwide to 6,770 in 2014 from 4,361 in 2012.
Communities are said to be developing negative attitudes toward conservation since they feel they cannot conserve what they do not benefit from directly. Prof Mbaiwa went on to say that hunting is a conservation tool which can be used for culling.