Saturday, 22 June 2019

Mass poisoning of vultures in Botswana and the increasing elephant poaching problem

Poachers have poisoned three elephant carcasses which have then subsequently killed hundreds of vultures and eagles in Northern Botswana, a country that just foolishly lifted the ban on hunting.

The massacre took place just south of  Chobe National Park. Two tawny eagles and 537 vultures were found dead near the carcasses, which had their tusks chopped out. The poisoning killed 10 Cape, 4 lappet-faced, 17 white-hooded, 28 hooded and 468 white-backed vultures.

Vultures will circle above a dead animal and give its position away, before landing to feed. This is a giveaway for poachers wishing to remain in the area, so the birds are being poisoned to stop them signaling anything to the authorities.

The incident is further evidence of a  growing problem of elephant poaching in Botswana which is of extreme concern for a country where 20% of its income is generated from wildlife tourism. Botswana is home to one-third of Africa’s savanna elephants – 130,000 and up till now they have been pretty well protected, until a new government was elected.

A recent study found 156 elephants with their tusks hacked out, a huge increase over the previous survey. It estimated 385 poached for the whole country. All carcasses were under a year old and within five “hot spots”.

Poaching has been on a rapid increase since 2017.

This is what you get when you weaken the protection given to wildlife, as is happening in Botswana under the Masisi regime. It won't be long before the industrial scale poaching seen in East Africa arrives in the country, and the elephant population is decimated. I wonder if that's what the government actually wants , and do they see it as a solution to the HWC problem? 

Great way for them to get elephant numbers drastically reduced without officially culling anything.

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