Xinhua | January 28, 2020
GABORONE: Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed on Tuesday that the country is looking at changing strategies on anti-poaching as well as renegotiating partnerships the country have with other stakeholders.
President Masisi was responding to questions from the media following revelations in the past week that at least 35 rhinos have been poached in the past nine months, with 13 of those poached only in the past two months. In almost all cases the rhinos have been found without horns, meaning they are being poached specifically for them.
The questions on poaching came as the president was updating the media on his recent trip to Davos, Switzerland for the just ended World Economic Forum.
He argued that the escalation in the number of poaching incidents is not due to any change in policies towards anti-poaching as some may believe.
President Masisi’s government was criticised for disarming an anti-poaching unit that was in place during the leadership of former President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. The two former close allies had a big fall-out that was widely reported and the former president has previously told the media that the incumbent has drawn back on the country’s efforts to stop poaching.
President Masisi said Botswana and its citizens have always upheld natural resources’ conservation mainly for the country’s tourism, and they will do everything to uphold this.
He said there is a worrying emergence of a small grouping that always have commentary of the poaching situation in Botswana and those want to tarnish the country as a good haven for animals and in turn call for boycotting of Botswana tourism.
He said due to the recent rise in rhino poaching, there is an imminent need to change strategies, but due to security reasons he could not reveal the new strategies to fight against poaching.
He said it is worrying that most of the rhinos killed are in the north-western part of the country in the Okavango Delta, which is the country’s hub for tourism.