Sowa Town — President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has released four rhinos into Sowa Town Park located in the Botash mine lease area.
Speaking in an interview after the release on July 1 during the annual Race for Rhinos event held for the first time in Sowa, Minister of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Mr Tshekedi Khama said they arranged to have the release taking place at this year's event due to the fact that Botash as the host had started a conversation process for wildlife.
The event as well was meant to raise awareness for these endangered species.
Minister Khama further pointed out that having the event demonstrated that as ministry, they were pushing tourism diversification, noting that the Race for Rhinos was meant to bring more of tourism activities into different areas.
Furthermore, he noted that with Botash planning in future to expand and link Sowa Park with Nata Bird Sanctuary, they brought more game animals to the park, hence increasing tourism in the area since there would be a variety of wildlife to be seen.
He highlighted that the event was this year moved to Sowa as a result of flooding of the Lekhubu Island which had been a host in the past two events, noting that it would probably be returned to Lekhubu if there would not be any flooding again next year.
Lekhubu had been the ideal host because they wanted all places across the country to benefit from the tourism industry, hence improved the livelihoods of the inhabitants and the economy of such areas.
In addition, Minister Khama highlighted that the population of Rhinos in Botswana was increasing and the country had best record of anti poaching.
He said they had challenges when they had to get the rhinos from other countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe to safer places in Botswana.
He said it needed a lot of money since they did not have enough resources to capture them, hence they needed to engage other stakeholders such as Botswana Defence Force to use their aircrafts to transport the animals.
Appreciating the donation of the four rhinos from Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Botash managing director, Mr Montwedi Mphathi said this was significant to them as it was adding to their conservation initiatives aimed at bringing back animals that used to be in these areas and had disappeared at the invasion of people.
Mr Mphathi also added that Sowa as a small town whose economy had depended on the Botash mine needed such initiatives which would bring business tourism to the area which had a lot to offer as a result of Makgadikgadi Pans.
He also stated that even when the pans were dry, they still had something to offer to attract tourists to the area, hence wild animals being retained to the area would revive the tourism business opportunity which the locals could tap into and change the phase of their town.