Botswana Land-Use Review Considers No-Hunting Buffer Zones


Published: May - 2009

The Botswana Ministry of Environment is considering the creation of no-hunting buffer zones as a result of a land-use review it has been conducting for the last year. That has led to rumors that the government may simply close hunting in Botswana. The ministry first announced the land-use review last July, indicating it would be looking at both consumptive (hunting) and non-consumptive (photographic and wildlife viewing). The ministry promised it would involve the hunting industry and conduct its review on a case-by-case basis with any changes being implemented over a period of several years. What has emerged after almost a year is nothing but continued uncertainty over exactly what the government will decide to do. The latest talk bantered about is that the government plans to create non-hunting buffer zones around all national parks, game reserves and international borders, but no one knows exactly how large those buffer zones would be because I'm told the government has not issued anything in writing, not even a proposal.

The Botswana Wildlife Management Association has been in talks with authorities this whole time, trying to determine the government's goals and proposing ways the industry could work with them. As of yet, however, nothing definitive has emerged, and the hunting industry is moving forward this season pretty much business as usual until the government announces what changes it will seek to implement. The bottom line is that we should expect to see some kind of changes in the future. Those will likely include the closure of some areas, but I'm told those will most probably be replaced with new areas that are within the elephant range but have not been hunted commercially before. Will those areas offer good elephant hunting? I'm told the areas being considered have plenty of jumbo and would definitely offer some good opportunities. "Elephant hunting will continue in this country," is the way Debbie Peake of Mochaba Developments put it to me at press time. "There are apt to be changes, but this will not be another Kenya," she said.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty created by the government has caused some........(continued)

 
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