GABORONE, April 18 — Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which together host the largest population of elephants in Africa, have thrown their weight behind Botswana’s plan to lift hunting ban.
In a joint communique released Wednesday following a Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the four countries said they support Botswana’s new policies and programs on elephant population management.
The KAZA-TFCA was established in August 2011 to sustainably manage the Kavango-Zambezi ecosystem, its heritage and cultural resources based on best conservation and tourism models for the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities and other stakeholders.
The communique signed by environment ministers from the countries after the meeting said they recognize that the KAZA-TFCA is inhabited by humans.
Kitso Mokaila, Botswana’s environment minister, appreciated the support the southern African country received from the other KAZA-TFCA members, saying residents in the northwestern Botswana have been reeling from the human-wildlife conflict for years now.
“Our people staying in the pristine Chobe National Park and surrounding villages were no longer harvesting reeds and sedges while growing of crops was being destroyed by the roaming elephants,” said Mokaila.
It is estimated that over 250,000 elephants are hosted by KAZA-TFCA members.
A ministerial committee, set up by President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi last year, recently submitted a report recommending the lifting of the hunting ban introduced in 2014 to deal with elephant overpopulation.
It sparked intense local and international debate as some countries from the West referred it as “blood law.” – XINHUA