Botswana to spend P2 million on training specialised anti-rhino poaching squad
The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism is training a 71-strong rhino squad in preparation for 100 rhinos expected from South Africa.
According to Minister of Finance’s current Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure from the Consolidated and Developments Funds, the ministry is requesting an additional P2 million for the training of the anti-rhino poaching squad.
“The ministry requests P2, 000,000 for training of the Rhino Squad consisting of 71 officers to assist the department to fully discharge its functions in ensuring that effective anti-poaching efforts are fully implemented to the satisfaction of all conservation stakeholders,” reads the report still to be presented in Parliament. It states that the squad will be assisting the law enforcement unit to combat poaching of the rhinos in Botswana.
Recently, a group calling itself Rhinos Without Borders announced that they planned moving 100 animals from South Africa to Botswana next year to save them from extinction.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert, filmmakers who previously worked with the National Geographic Society to assist Africa’s lions, leopards, cheetahs and tigers by forming the Big Cats Initiative, are spearheading the initiative.
Many of the rhinos in South Africa, which is believed to hold 80 percent of the 26,000 or so rhinos left on the continent, are located in the Kruger National Park.
The ministry indicated that in recent years, poaching of the elephant and rhino has become violent and increased to levels surpassing the capacity of the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU). “It is therefore important for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) to improve its capacity by acquiring additional resources such as an aeroplane and specialised tracking equipment in order to effectively discharge its duties.”
To that end, the total estimated cost of this project would be increased by P46, 000,00 - from P209, 750,00 to P255, 750,00. Some of the developments expected to be undertaken by the ministry under the NDP10 include; payment of consultants for the design of the APU in Kang, construction of the APU camp in Kang, office and staff houses at Seronga and an office in Kanye.
The ministry will also complete Botswana Wildlife Training Institute and fence the eastern and southern boundary of Khutshe Game Reserve.