Stakeholder involvement is said to be important in drawing up innovative policies and strategic interventions for Human-Wildlife Conflict mitigation at national, district and village-levels.
Speaking during the 37th graduation ceremony of the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute (BWTI) recently, Minister of Environmen and Tourism Philda Kereng emphasised that there is need to continue instilling a sense of wildlife ownership among communities through stakeholder engagement, CBNRM projects and other innovative interventions to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
Kereng noted that if stakeholders worked together there will be sustainable agriculture and food security and the sustainability of the wildlife-based tourism sector.
She added that well trained personnel, such as the BWTI graduates, are crucial to achieving co-existence goals. The minister has also called on various government departments to work jointly in order for the co-existence plan to smoothly come into existence.
“It is on this basis that on Wednesday last week, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks convened state and non-state stakeholders in Kasane for a Human-Wildlife Conflict Mini-Pitso targeting the Chobe District, so that local jointly-developed solutions are agreed to,” Kereng noted.
She indicated that her ministry will be rolling out these district-level mini-pitsos over the next few months for the same purpose, with the national event scheduled to be held later this year.
Meanwhile the BWTI principal Moemi Batshabang has revealed that they have embarked on an initiative of training various government departments working in wildlife prone areas on issues of human/wildlife co-existence.
He indicated that so far they have offered awareness training on animal behaviour to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) personnel in Gantsi and Gumare who are operating in the field and often encounter problematic wild animals.
By so doing Batshabang noted that it will help government in achieving its goal of addressing the growing dynamics of wildlife management issues with a different mind-set to achieve sustainable development as adopted in Vision 2036 as well as the RESET Agenda.
Human and wildlife conflict continues to be a cause of concern across Botswana especially in the northern part of the country. Mostly, wild animals are now found roaming areas that occupied by humans in search for water but the end up destroying people’s properties and endangering people’s lives. The residents then proceed to retaliate by killing the animals.