Giraffes are among wildlife species adversely affected by increased illegal poaching in Botswana. This follows the banning of legal hunting there several years ago.
The information was included recently during a presentation to the International Wildlife Conservation Council by Joseph Mbaiwa, Professor, Tourism Studies, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana. More details were included in Prof. Mbaiwa’s written report that was published a peer-reviewed journal, the South African Geographical Journal.
“It is obvious to me that a lack of hunting is a cause for the decline in giraffe numbers,” said Safari Club International President Paul Babaz.
“Illegal hunting incidents are reported to be on the increase in most parts of Northern Botswana,” Mbaiwa’s longer written report stated, adding that “one of the possible explanations for the recent estimated declines in the populations of some medium and large herbivore species (such as impala, tsessebe, zebra, kudu, giraffe, and lechwe) is increased pressure from illegal hunting by inhabitants of villages and settlements in and surrounding the Okavango Delta.’’
“SAIEA (Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment) argues that it is conceivable that 4000 wild animals are being harvested illegally each year in the Okavango Delta,” the paper continues. “Illegal hunting for meat may be the most significant factor to account for the recent declines in herbivore species in the Okavango Delta. Therefore, there is need for poaching to be prevented to maintain viable populations of targeted ungulates in Northern Botswana.”
Prof. Mbaiwa’s written report also outlined how illegal poaching decreased after hunting was instituted in that country during the past century – before the hunting ban several years ago.