Botswana rues 'disturbing' rhino poaching trend

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

Botswana’s Wildlife and Tourism minister, Kitso Mokaila has rued the challenge which wildlife crime continues pose on his ministry's efforts to conserve some iconic species, APA learned Sunday.

The latest concern about escalating poaching incidences involving rhinos comes at a time when reports indicate that poachers have broken into Botswana's safe reserves, killing more than 11 rhinos in less than 11 months since last year.

In a document to be presented before Parliament, Mokaila laments that "the number of rhinos poached in the wild and on private property has increased over the years."

According to the minister, "this disturbing trend will have to be reversed through increasing protection for rhino, elephants and other key species."

The minister says this kind of wildlife crime will require a multi-pronged approach, which include increased penalties for illegal sourced wildlife and products as well as stepping up efforts to seize proceeds from such offenses.

Mokaila says engagement with Botswana’s neighbours through the established structures such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other conservation bodies will demonstrate the regional resolve towards addressing the challenge.

He reveals that his ministry has entered into partnerships with other government and non-governmental organisations and academic institutions to promote research and wildlife conservation.

He says a memorandum of understanding has been signed between Botswana and South Africa on rhino conservation and their management inside the country.


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