Ensnaring of wild animals is said to have reached worrying levels in NG 19 and NG 41 controlled hunting areas of Khwai and Mababe respectively. A number of endangered animals are reported to have been snared in the areas.
The snares are usually found by escort guides near these two villages on their monitoring patrols to ensure that activities done in the area do not go against the ecosystem.
According to an escort guide from Mababe, Gomolemo Oduetse a total of six wild dogs, one lioness, five hyena and one zebra were snared between December 2021 to July 2022 in the area.
He noted that from those reported, five wild dogs, one hyena and one lioness were then darted, snares removed and received wounds treatment adding that the affected wild dogs come from a pack within the area which is monitored by the Botswana Predator Conservation (Wildtrust).
Oduetse revealed that in efforts to mitigate the situation, they conducted a five-day joint operation from the 27 July this with various governmental bodies including Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), DWNP Anti-Poaching Unit (APU), DWNP Investigations, Botswana Police Service, DWNP K9 Unit and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), as well as private entities including Great Plains Foundation (GPF), CONNECT and Wild Entrust to de-snare around the villages.
“Since we could not find the focus areas of the traps, we did a 360 sweep across the villages. In Khwai Village, majority of the snares were situated between the village and the airstrip while in Mababe majority of the snares were found on the western side of the Mababe Depression on either side of the road,” Oduetse revealed.
Oduetse revealed that a total of 52 snares were discovered in and around Khwai at approximately 29 snare locations. He added that in Mababe, a total of 56 snares were found and removed on the outskirts of the village at approximately 42 snare locations. It brings the total snares removed to 108 at 71 snare location
DWNP Ngamiland Acting Regional Wildlife Officer, Modiri Mogopa has since confirmed the incidents adding that his department has already made arrests.
“According to the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act of 1992, Section 57 any person who contravenes the provisions of this section and found guilty is liable to a fine of P5, 000 and to imprisonment for 5 years,” Mogopa said.
He noted that in efforts to mitigate the situation, the department together with other district law enforcement agencies dealing in wildlife crime are conducting regular patrols in the affected areas and removing snares.
He further noted that, they raise public awareness at Kgotla meetings held in Sankoyo, Mababe, Khwai, Ditshiping, Daunara and Xaxaba villages to sensitise communities on the illegal means of hunting and the importance or benefits derived from wildlife in the area.