Friday July 19, 2019
Home Lead Story Increasing El...

Increasing Elephant Population in Botswana Becomes a Major Reason for Human-Wildlife Conflict

Human deaths caused by elephants have increased, as the mammals move away from their historic range into human territory

0
//
elephants
Masilo Matsapa says the elephants drive people away and threaten the cattle. Pixabay

The small town of Gobojango, 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of the capital, Gaborone, is fighting an increasing elephant problem. Residents say they support President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision to lift the ban on elephant hunting, as more than 250 of the large mammals have moved into human settlements. Masilo Matsapa says the elephants drive people away and threaten the cattle.

“They disturb our lives because we are now forced to collect our livestock early as we are afraid of the elephants,” he said. “In the cattle posts, people have deserted, it’s only empty homes. By 4 p.m., we have rounded off the animals and they are already in the corral, so that by the time the elephants come, they do not find anyone. We wake up in the morning only to find their tracks. The elephants are too many. They should be reduced.”

Horticulture farmer Shadreck Mapetla said he was forced to abandon his trade because elephants constantly invaded his farm, and the compensation for loss of crops from the government was insufficient. The only way to address the invasion of elephants is to reduce their numbers, he said.

“This is not a normal life. When our president … speaks about killing elephants, people refuse, but people want food from us in the village. Those who say they don’t want the elephants to be killed should come, take and keep them,” Mapetla said.

Local farmers’ association chairperson Davidson Mapetla led a march in 2017, calling on the government to act. He said the villages gain no benefits from the elephants, as they are not within a game reserve and do not generate income from tourism.

“The only thing that sustains our village is farming, so if we don’t get farming, then we should do away with tourism,” he said. “We want to farm. Reduce the elephants to the required numbers that the government can be able to manage. That will be wise.”

human-wildlife conflict, elephants
Human deaths caused by elephants have increased, as the mammals move away from their historic range into human territory. Pixabay

Human deaths caused by elephants have increased, as the mammals move away from their historic range into human territory. One family from neighboring Semolale is still mourning the death of their son, Balisi Sebudubudu, who was trampled to death by an elephant while out in the bush to look for a cow to slaughter during his brother’s funeral.

ALSO READ: Airplane Contrails- Major Cause of Global Warming, to Triple the Impact on Climate by 2050

Critics of elephant hunting

However, not everyone supports the killing of elephants as a solution to the human-wildlife conflict. Isabel Wolf-Gillespie runs programs to alert communities of ways to co-exist with elephants without killing them.

“I love people, I love elephants. My view will be that co-existence is something to strive for. I like the idea of looking for solutions that nurture co-existence,” she said. In another proposed solution, Botswana’s government has offered to give some of the elephants to neighboring countries where elephant populations are in decline. (VOA)

Next Story

“Botswana”, a Fourth African Country to Decriminalize Gay Sex, Boosts Hope for Equal Rights

Addressing the court Tuesday, Judge Michael Leburu said Botswana needed to embrace diversity and promote tolerance

0
gay sex
An activist holds up a rainbow flag to celebrate inside Botswana High Court in Gaborone on June 11, 2019. Botswana's Court ruled on June 11 in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, handing down a landmark verdict greeted with joy by gay rights… An activist holds up a rainbow flag to celebrate inside Botswana High Court in Gaborone on June 11, 2019. Botswana's Court ruled on June 11 in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, handing down a landmark verdict greeted with joy by gay rights. VOA

Botswana’s High Court on Tuesday overturned colonial-era laws that made gay sex illegal. Botswana is the fourth African country to decriminalize homosexual relations, and the first to do so through the courts.

Addressing the court Tuesday, Judge Michael Leburu said Botswana needed to embrace diversity and promote tolerance. Letsweletse Motshidiemang, a 24-year-old university student, had challenged two of the southern African country’s colonial-era laws. The laws, though rarely enforced, made gay sex punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Motshidiemang’s lawyer, Tshiamo Rantao, hailed the judgment. “There shall be no discrimination based on sexual orientation from now henceforth,” he said.  “The parliament had already done so when it prohibited discrimination in the employment arena, on the basis of sexual orientation. It is a progressive decision; I am sure it will be celebrated all over the world.”

gay sex
Activists leave Botswana High Court in Gaborone, June 11, 2019. VOA

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) spokesperson Cain Youngman said the ruling was a win for equal rights. “It basically puts us at par with the rest of the community. It was not about asking for any special rights, we were asking to be equal to other Botswana, period,” Youngman said. The case removed Section 164 and 165 of Botswana’s penal code, which was similar to anti-gay laws in other former British colonies.

Around Africa

Kenya’s high court in May upheld its colonial-era laws against gay sex, dealing a blow to activists’ hopes it would lead the expansion of gay rights in Africa. Botswana gay rights activist Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile, who underwent gender transformation, said Tuesday’s ruling was a victory for everyone.

“I am really happy that Botswana added to its record of upholding human rights provision for each and every citizen,” Kolanyane-Kesupile said.

gay sex
Pride Month kicked off on June 1 and honours the LGBTQ community while commemorating New York’s Stonewall riots in June 1969. Pixabay

“It is not only a victory for LGBT people. We are here to say every single member deserves to be protected unto the laws of the country.”

ALSO READ: Marvel Universe to Introduce a LGBTQ Superhero Very Soon

Homosexuality is a crime in the majority of African nations, and discrimination is common. Botswana joins Angola, Mozambique, and the Seychelles in removing anti-gay laws and is the first to do so through the court system. The others removed the discriminatory laws through parliament or constitutional reform.

While the Botswana high court’s ruling is widely seen as a victory for gay rights, South Africa remains the only country on the continent with explicit legal rights based on sexual orientation. (VOA)