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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Botswana reports 400 buffaloes mass drown in Chobe River

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Botswana says an estimated more than 400 buffaloes have drowned in the Chobe River along the border of the Chobe National Park, on the edge of the Kabulabula Peninsula.

In a press statement on Thursday, Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism reported that initial investigations by authorities on both sides of the Botswana/Namibia border suggest that an exceptionally large buffalo herd was grazing in Namibia when they stampeded into the Chobe river.

“The cause of the stampede is still uncertain and under investigation, however initial indications are that they were being chased by a pride of lions. It is estimated that more than 400 animals drowned due to the massive movement of buffalo trampling, and falling from steep river banks,” the statement reads.

Carcasses have largely been removed, most being harvested by community members who live along the river in Namibia.

It is said that this is not an unusual occurrence as mass drownings have occurred before in the Chobe River, notably off Sedudu Island.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Large herd of 400 buffaloes drown in Namibia

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- More than 400 buffalos drowned Tuesday in the Chobe River at the northern border of Namibia and Botswana.

Namibia’s environment spokesperson Romeo Muyunda confirmed the drowning to Xinhua Wednesday.

Chobe River flows through the Chobe National Park that has a considerable population of Cape African buffalo, elephants, sable and giraffe.

Muyunda said some community members from the Kavulvula village in the Mbalasinte area about 130 kilometers from Namibia’s northern town of Katima Mulilo found the carcasses.

The spokesperson suspected that the buffalos were running away from some danger when they drowned.

He also said that the villagers in the area had collected the carcasses and would share the meat.

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Leopard kills wildlife warden in Botswana

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Another casualty has been recorded as conflicts between human and wildlife continue to surge in Botswana.

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism on Monday announced the death of a senior wildlife warden, who was attacked by a leopard while on duty.

“The deceased officer and a colleague were in the process of transporting a problem leopard in a cage after it had been captured in the Sefhare area,” a statement said.

According to the statement issued by the ministry, the attack happened when the leopard was being released from the cage into the Khutse Game Reserve, a national park about 240 km from the capital.

“The officer later succumbed to injuries sustained during the attack. Investigations are currently ongoing to determine the cause of the incident which happened in Khutse Game Reserve on Nov. 3, 2018,” reads the statement.

The incident came fresh on the heels of a recent case in which a soldier  was killed by an elephant.

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Task force to tackle human-wildlife conflict in Botswana

GABORONE  Botswana (Xinhua) -- Botswana government has appointed a task force to look into the human-wildlife conflict that is rife in the southern African country.

Thapelo Olopeng, Minster of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, said in the northeastern village of Tonota on Thursday that the government is working round the clock to manage human-wildlife conflict.

Olopeng told residents that in this regard, the government has set up a task force to assess how the conflict can be managed for the sustainable utilization of wildlife to improve the living standard of Batswana.

“Though Batswana love their wildlife, there must be a balance between conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources for the improvement of the living standards of the citizenry,” he said.

He explained that the task force is yet another way in which the government consults with different communities on a National Elephant Action Plan and human-wildlife conflicts.

Olopeng, who is also a member of the taskforce, said the outcome of the consultations will help the government to make informed decisions on solutions to the human-wildlife conflict.

His comment follows complaints raised by residents of Tonota about some elephants that continue to destroy their fields in search of food and water.

He said statistics indicate that the population of elephant in Botswana is between 150,000 to 200,000.

He said the population is exacerbated by poaching in neighboring countries, forcing some wildlife, especially elephants, to flee their respective countries for safe haven in Botswana.

             

 

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