Botswana Hunting Ban Causes Job Losses In 2014
April 2015, Volume 13-2

According to a report prepared by the Ngamiland trusts, they have already lost money amounting to P7 million in the last 12 months because of the hunting ban. They also explained that close to 200 jobs have been lost, and there are fears that more retrenchments could come. The Mababe Zokotsama Community Development Trust saw income drop from P3.5 million to P500 000 and shedding around 30 jobs; Sankoyo Tshwaragano Management Trust income dropped from P3.5 million to P1.8 million, with 35 job losses; Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust’s income fell from P4.8 million to P2.5 million and about 40 people lost their jobs. The report also indicates that trusts in other regions of Seronga/Gudigwa, Phuduhudu and Xaixai experienced about 80 jobs lost.

Ngamiland CBNRM forum submitted their concerns to the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism in May 2013 and top of the list was the issue of hunting ban. [In] 2013 MEWT issued a ban on hunting of wildlife in all controlled hunting areas in Botswana which was effective from early January 2014. The Ministry’s decision came after research surveys conducted by Mike Chase of Elephants without Borders, whose findings indicated that the country is experiencing a decline in wild animal species.

MEWT explained that the cause of the decline was likely due to a combination of factors such as anthropogenic impacts, including illegal offtake and habitat fragmentation or loss. Ngamiland CBNRM submitted that the forum appreciates that some wildlife species are indeed declining, however they pointed out that the same report concluded that wildlife species like elephants and buffalo are increasing.   The forum members complained that the two species are a threat to the agriculture sector in the Northern part of Botswana (as elephants destroy crops while Buffalos transmit Foot and Mouth Disease to cattle). The forum recommended that the hunting ban should exempt Elephants and Buffalos.

The Ngamiland district is reported as the cornerstone of CBNRM with more than 20 legally registered community organizations or trusts. 8 of these CBOs leased wildlife management areas and derived benefits from the use of natural resources within their areas. CBNRM is a development approach that supports natural resources conservation and management while ensuring that the rural communities do benefit from the natural resources.

Author: Joseph Kgamanyane (edited for space)