DWNP Park Workers Decry Unsafe Working Conditions

Date:

Employees of the department of wildlife and national parks (DWNP) who work in the national parks and game reserves have expressed concern over unsafe working conditions that expose them to wild animal attacks.

The employees, who have preferred to remain anonymous, decried that it has been years now and they are still exposed to the dangers that come with environment they work in, pointing out that they do not have transportation, and work and live in unfenced areas.

They claim that they are forced to walk from their work places to staff houses through dangerous animals. Without any fence, they expressed concern that they are exposed to dangerous animals like buffalos and lions.

“We walk more than 100 meters from the offices to our houses and that put us in the danger of being attacked by either buffalos or lions because they usually come around our surroundings and sometimes spend nights there,” she added.

One of the gatekeepers explained that sometimes they spend sleepless nights in the office because of buffalos which would hang around. She revealed that she was nearly killed by a buffalo in one of the days as she was trying to go to work from her house.

“Sometimes we live in fear when our generators experience mechanical faults and we are forced to spend nights without lights. We can also sometimes stay up to a month without power and that puts us in danger of being attacked by wild animals and human beings,” she added.

Regarding the unavailability of a vehicle another gatekeeper stressed that they also need a car in the event where one of their colleagues is critically ill and has to be urgently taken to Kasane or Maun for medical attention.

She further revealed that sometimes their office telephones are not able to connect to Kasane or Maun therefore they complained it is not advisable to stay in such environment without a reliable transportation.

When reached for comment DWNP Coordinator Kabelo Senyatso, was clear that all their staff in the parks are trained to live under such an environment, adding that there is nothing wrong with the set-up.

“Every one of our employees are very well trained to adapt to such environment, therefore we are aware of the set-up and we cannot just say it is dangerous. However, there are measures in place to solve such issues like unavailability of vehicles in cases where one gets sick,” he said.

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