MAUN - No one will be allowed to hunt wildlife in Botswana, come 2014, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has announced.
He said wildlife numbers were decreasing at an alarming rate, hence the decision.
Next year will be the last time anyone is allowed to hunt in Botswana and we have realised that if we do not take care of our animals, we will have a huge problem in terms of tourism, President Khama told Sankoyo and Mababe residents last week.
The President also decried the rate at which poachers were killing elephants.
We have increased the number of soldiers and police officers that patrol our game parks. Yesterday our officers apprehended five people with 12 elephant tusks in the Chobe area. Two of them are Batswana and three are Zimbabweans, said President Khama.
He said government was aware of peoples complaint about damages caused by the elephants in their villages, especially in the farms.
There is someone who will come to this district next week, starting with Khwai village. That person will help you chase away elephants from your villages by using certain methods that he has been taught, he said.
He indicated that elephants were the main attraction of tourists to Botswana hence he could never allow for them to be killed. He also informed residents that compensation for damage done to farms by elephants would be 100 per cent instead of the current 35 per cent.
As for those who lose cattle because of lions and other predators, compensation will be cattle, he said.
President Khama indicated that compensation would be done after extensive investigations.
He also appealed to residents to help law enforcement officers in fighting poaching.
In South Africa, he said, poachers killed 440 rhinos last year and this year they had so far killed 450.
Earlier on, residents of Sankoyo had complained to President Khama about elephants that were damaging their crop fields and lions which killed their livestock.
They also pleaded with the President to extend the hunting season since elephants were too many in their village.
While in Mababe, President Khama told residents that if it was their wish to change the constituency, then the delimitation exercise had to be done accordingly.
He said Mababe was administered from North West District while politically it fell under the Chobe District.
He was answering a question from villagers who wanted to know whether Mababe fell under the North West or Chobe district.
Residents also wanted to know why Tawana Land Board had stopped allocating plots in Mababe.
For her part, the land board secretary, Ms Tlotlego Rampha informed residents that allocation of plots was still suspended because they were still awaiting a decision from government to convert some of its state land to tribal land.
We realised later that the land that we were giving to Batswana was state land hence we suspended it and still waiting for authorisation to convert some of the state land into tribal land, she said.
Ms Rampha assured residents that the land board would not confiscate the land that they had already allocated. BOPA