BOTSWANA

Friday 31 October 1997

-- At a time when alarms have been sounded over the slaughter of elephants and rhinos by poachers and killing of male lions by hunters, the wildlife in Botswana is facing a serious threat. An expanding cattle industry and hundreds of miles of new veterinary cordon fences have led to massive decline in the numbers of free-roaming animals in southern Africa.

Though the country has dedicated nearly 40 per cent of its territory to national parks and lesser wildlife areas, the land is not sufficient to sustain animal populations. Animals move from one place to other seasonally in search of food. During this period, if cattle fences, farms and human settlement block their way, the results can be devastating. According to estimates, the wildebeest population in central and southern Botswana declined by 94 per cent between 1979 and 1994, whereas the number of hartebeest went down by 83 per cent due to human disruption.

The Kuke cordon fence that separates the central Kalahari game reserve from better-watered areas to the north, has been blamed for death of thousands of animals as the fence has cut wildlife off from water and scarce grazing during severe droughts.

In the past two years, Botswana has built new fences that may pose a serious threat to wildlife in northern part of the country. The step has been taken in the wake of a cattle lung disease that seems to have originated from Namibia and affected cattle in Botswana in 1995. The fences may affect movements of elephants, zebras, buffalos, giraffes and antelopes that migrate between the two countries.

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top