Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Botswana seems to show the way ahead in conservation – but poaching is still on the rise

Set on the banks of the Chobe river, Kasane looks out across where five countries – Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana – come together. This town, where the latest wildlife trade talks will take place this week, is at the heart of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Park, an area bigger than Italy. It is the world’s biggest park, and Africa’s greatest hope of preserving its heritage.Botswana appears to be leading the way in the battle to preserve the continent’s famous living treasury of animals. Tourism brought £227m into the economy last year. High-end camps attract visitors from around the world to appreciate nature that most people can see only on television. The president banned commercial hunting in 2014, and the country’s conservation projects are the envy of many.

Olmo von Meijenfeldt of Democracy Works, an NGO based in South Africa, has been touring these projects ahead of the conference. Sitting in a remote bush camp, he said: “Botswana appears to be on the cutting edge of conservation in southern Africa.”
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