Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Effort to reclaim the Moremi Game Reserve may have come to nought because President Ian Khama is said to have instructed that along with 13 other tourist sites, it should be transferred from the Tawana Land Board (TLB) to the central government. Against this background Maun West MP, Tawana Moremi, who is at the forefront of this effort is asking why similar fate didn’t befall other privately-owned tourist sites. Moremi’s transfer places it far away from the reach of people in Ngamiland who have launched a campaign to reclaim it from the TLB.

Last year (November 26), Tawana told Sunday Standard that Khama had given assurances through his senior private secretary that consultation had begun to resolve the dispute over the ownership of Moremi. Two months later, however, the ministry of lands and housing notified all land board secretaries in the country about a directive from upstairs. “Acting in accordance with the provisions of the Tribal Land Act section 11, subsection 2, His Excellency the President has directed that some tourism sites be transferred to the central government with immediate effect,” reads a January 20 letter from the ministry.

Moremi is on the list of sites that are “readily available for transfer.” A multi-billion pula tourist asset, this game reserve was established in 1963 by residents of Ngamiland, among them Tawana’s father and grandmother. It is the first game reserve in Africa to be created by local residents and in 2008, was voted the “Best Game Reserve in Africa.” The British colonial government was virulently opposed to the establishment of the game reserve. Its representative in Maun was a man called Eustace Clark who held the position of District Commissioner. In token of his bad faith, Clark deployed a repertoire of incrementally devious tricks to sabotage the Moremi project. In the early days, Moremi was a hugely successful venture that gained international attention and popularised the entire Okavango Delta.
Read more at http://www.sundaystandard.info/article.php?NewsID=19666&GroupID=1

Monday, April 07, 2014

Okavango Delta unlikely to dry up in a lifetime, research shows

THE Okavango Delta is unlikely to dry up in a lifetime, but new research showed the world’s only inland delta was likely to get smaller, University of Cape Town (UCT) Climate System Analysis Group research associate Piotr Wolski said on Thursday.
The delta is Botswana’s major tourism revenue source, bringing in millions of dollars a year.
Dr Wolski was speaking after UCT released the results of research in which he and UCT climatologist Bruce Hewitson collaborated with researchers from the US’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the United Nations Development Programme on how human-induced climate change had affected recent flooding in the delta, and the ecologically and geographically unique river basin.
It is often difficult to directly link specific events to climate change.
The annual Okavango floods of 2009, 2010 and 2011 were "pretty dramatic", reaching extents last seen decades ago, and while deaths were minimal, villages and houses were flooded, bridges closed or washed away and water and electricity supplies interrupted, raising the question of whether they were caused by human-induced climate change, Dr Wolski said.
The researchers used computer modelling to come up with an answer and found the global increase in greenhouse gas emissions had "substantially reduced the chance of floods".
The study, which claims to be the first of its kind carried out in Africa due to the unique set of computer simulations created, compared a changed climate with an unchanged one.
"The air is warmer in the climate we are experiencing and the river takes a long time to flow down to the delta, so you get more evaporation occurring before the river even reaches the delta, and thus fewer high floods," said Dr Wolski.
Read more http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/science/2014/03/27/okavango-delta-unlikely-to-dry-up-in-a-lifetime-research-shows

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Elephant tusk trafficking overwhelm Maun police

Fresh information has emerged that contrary to popular believe, Batswana are at the main culprits in elephant tusk trafficking.  Maun police station commander Kenny Badumetse told Sunday Standard this week that his policing area is overwhelmed with cases of elephant tusk trafficking, most of which are committed by Batswana .

Badumetse is adamant that locals are always at the forefront of the trafficking and that foreigners are only roped in to assist with markets outside Botswana. He revealed that “just this week, a 41 year old man, who is an employee of the Mahalapye Sub District Council was caught red handed at Makalamabedi veterinary gate in possession of four elephant tusks which he could not account for upon questioning. “He was travelling from Maun to Francistown in his Toyota Dyna when he was caught by police during their early morning random checks at the gate.
For more info visit: http://www.sundaystandard.info/article.php?NewsID=19578&GroupID

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chobe Elephants March To Gaborone?

Chobe elephants have been trying to find an ancient route to their former habitat in Gaborone over the past week. About 12 elephants were sighted less than 80km from the capital, as wildlife officers’ battle to drive the elephants from Chobe National Park into the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) and Khutse Game Reserve.
Missionary records show that the area around Kolobeng and Gaborone used to be populated with elephants that white travellers killed for the ivory trade. Gaborone is about 1,000km from the Chobe National Park. On Tuesday, two elephants were seen two kilometres from Molepolole or 52km from Gaborone, in Suping village, before they were driven away by wildlife officers. Now they are reported to be in the village of Ditshukudung, as wildlife officers attempt to drive them into the Khutse Game Reserve and the CKGR.
Kweneng regional wildlife coordinator, Dimakatso Ntsebe said 12 elephants have been seen in the area in separate groups over the last week.  The largest group of seven elephants were sighted in Khudumelajwe.
Meanwhile, it looks like wildlife officers are struggling to drive back the elephants. Two of the wild animals spotted outside Molepolole were close to reaching Lentswe-le-tau village on Wednesday, before the army intervened to help wildlife officers.
On Friday some of the animals were reported to be 8km from Ditshukudu. Ntsebe says the Chobe elephants have been marching into the CKGR and the Khutse Game Reserve in high numbers lately in search of pasture and watering holes.
For more read http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=11515&fb_action_ids=826505854030259&fb_action_types=og.comments

Friday, March 14, 2014

Huge rains that have fallen over many parts of Ngamiland

Huge rains that have fallen over many parts of Ngamiland, Ghanzi District and the Central District have left roads underwater and flooded out hotels, lodges and other properties. These dramatic pictures show the damage to parts of the Nata area – the flooded entrance to upmarket Nata Lodge, a truck ploughing through the rain and the Nata River almost at the top of the main bridge which was increased in height several years ago after a similar flood. The lodge has
been closed for business as a result of the flooding. The rainwater has also resulted in a rise of the level of the Thamalakane River.http://www.ngamitimes.com/2014/03/huge-rains-fallen-many-parts-ngamiland/

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Poaching and illegal wildlife trade threaten tourism and development options in Africa

Panelists at an event held in Berlin, Germany, during ITB — the world’s largest tourism fair concurred  that record poaching levels of rhinos and elephants are not only threatening the basis of tourism but also tourism-based development options in Africa.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Moses Kalongashawa, Minister of Tourism and Culture in Malawi, and Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Tourism noted that the issue of poaching is of huge concern and Africa is losing wildlife at record rates each year to poachers and illegal trade. He said this was because of the involvement of organized criminal syndicates in elephant and rhino poaching, with criminals now deploying advanced technologies ranging from night vision scopes, silenced weapons, darting equipment and helicopters, to carry out their missions.

For more information visit: http://www.traffic.org/home/2014/3/7/poaching-and-illegal-wildlife-trade-threaten-tourism-and-dev.html

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Rain to continue

The Department of Meteorological Services wishes to advice the public that the torrential rains that have been prevailing over most parts of the country in the past couple of days are expected to continue up to the end of the week.
Given that the recent rains have resulted in a lot of water on the ground there is a high possibility of increased flash flood events/incidents occurring in some parts of the areas affected by the current rains.
The public is therefore adviced to exercise utmost caution as they go about their daily chores or businesses to lessen risks of accidents related to the flooding occurring.
The department will keep watch over the developing weather situation and will update the public accordingly. For information, contact the director at 3612272 or forecasting office at 3612282.