Thursday, 15 October 2015

Botswana - A Safe Haven for African Bush Elephants

Introduction :

Many of us are aware that in East Africa and in Central Africa Wild Elephants are being slaughtered in their hundreds and in their dozens for their "Ivory". 2013 and 2014 were terrible years for Wild African Elephants.

In 2013, 96 Elephants were lost every day to "Organized Poacher Gangs" in Africa.

It is sad to say this, but it is true that African Elephants in most parts of their range are declining extremely fast specially in National Parks in Kenya, Tanzania, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.

Botswana : An Elephant Haven :

Botswana is a happy exception to this trend regarding the mass slaughter of Elephants in other parts of Africa.

The Northern Part of Botswana, encompassing the entire Okavango Delta - an inland delta fed by the waters of the Okavango River which evaporates in the sands of the Kalahari Desert and never reaches the Ocean has one of the few growing elephant populations left on the African Continent.

The best recent estimates, widely divergent and based on aerial counts in 2010 and 2012 puts Okavango's Elephant Numbers at 130,000 and 207,000 respectively.

Whatever the exact number, the patchwork of islands, channels, and floodplains of the Okavango are a seasonal refuge for thousands and thousands of African Bush Elephants.

This extraordinary terrain was designated as UNESCO'S 1000th World Heritage Site on June 22, 2014 and its new status may make it an even "Safer Haven" for Bush Elephants in the years to come.

The Okavango Delta being a "World Heritage Site" is a great benchmark in Botswana's Natural History.

It's one of the last sanctuaries for African Bush Elephants on the African Continent.

Elephant Refugees :

Many of the African Elephants living in Botswana are "Political Refugees". They are fleeing from Zimbabwe and Zambia where poaching is heavy into the Okavango Delta and southward into Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.

More and More Bush Elephants from neighbouring countries are constantly seeking the safety and security of Botswana.

The Government of Botswana -- A World Leader in Elephant Conservation :

Under the leadership of President Ian Khama and those before him, Botswana has long been politically and economically stable.

This, coupled with a strong emphasis on conservation and ecotourism has meant that Bush Elephants have rarely been persecuted, hardly ever poached, and since the banning of hunting in public areas in early 2014 -- not killed for sport.

Conclusion :

Botswana's Elephants are a "World Heritage". In Botswana, they are free to roam wherever they like -- into towns, communities, farmlands, and even across borders into adjacent countries.

Botswana's Bush Elephants are the "Flagship Species" for the country's thriving ecotourism industry.

The Beautiful "Okavango Delta" plays host to more than 50,000 Bush Elephants in the dry season.

The wetlands of Botswana are a veritable stronghold of "Bush Elephants".

Botswana has emerged as a "Terrific and Peaceful Haven" for vast herds of Bush Elephants in Southern Africa.

Let us do our utmost in supporting the Government of Botswana in saving Bush Elephants for posterity from organized poacher gangs.

Credits and References :

Aerial Census of Africa's Elephants aims to help Conservation, Anti- Poaching Efforts (Sept 5, 2014)

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