In its continued effort to control human wildlife co-existence between farmers and problematic wild animals, the ministry of wildlife has proposed a hunting quota for problem animals in agricultural extension areas for this year’s hunting season.
Hunting in Botswana is guided by the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act and Hunting and Licensing Regulations. Quotas for each area are to be determined and set by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) based on the aerial survey monitoring program with priority given to Community Based Organizations (CBOs) commonly known as Trusts.
This was revealed by cabinet minister Mabuse Pule when responding to a question on behalf of the ministry, that the problem animal quota will include 20 elephants and 10 leopards which will be hunted within the agricultural extension areas during the 2023 hunting season.
Member of Parliament for Kanye North Thapelo Letsholo had asked the minister of Environment and Tourism to appraise parliament on any envisaged policy shift in human wildlife conflict including compensation models.
Pule explained that the new model and policy shift is meant to allow farmers to derive an economic value from wildlife which will also enhance co-existence and reduce human wildlife conflict.
He explained that the quota system will be in such a way that areas which have conflicts with problem animals will form syndicates and be given a quota of a problem animal for that particular area. According to him, the revenue generated from the hunt may be used by the syndicate to compensate locals in that particular area with a price they have both agreed on.
Pule added that the new quota is meant to enable farmers and other agricultural extension area users to sustainably and legally hunt problem animals which they have had to kill but without economic returns accrued by farmers.
To date wildlife compensation is fully paid for by the government through the Ministry of Finance subventions to the Ministry of Wildlife. “The budget allocated for compensation ranges between P25-30million per annum and we admit it is not enough,” Pule told parliament.
Meanwhile the cabinet minister has revealed that the amendment of the compensation rate is awaiting approval through government structures. He indicated that the wildlife ministry has made two substantive proposals being to review the rates payable to farmers and the review of list of species that attract compensation.
Pule stated that the quota is an addition to already existing mitigation factors by the government to address human wildlife conflict across the country.
“From 2009 to 2016 the Department of Wildlife and National Parks implemented the Northern Botswana Human Wildlife Co-existence Project which had a budget of around 5.5 million US dollars grant from Global Environmental Facility (GEF) while government and other project partners provided 14.9 million pula in co-financing of the project.”
He explained that the main aim of the project was to mitigate human-wildlife conflict by offering locals in project areas with employment choices in wildlife tourism industry for them to directly benefit from the presence of wildlife in their respective areas.