Botswana: Masisi Dismisses Media Reports

London, — President Mokgweetsi Masisi has dismissed as untrue media report that link poaching and government decision to withdraw certain types of weapons from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and Anti-Poaching Unit.

He said when giving a key note speech during the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference at Battersea Evolution in London that the decision to withdraw the arms was merely to rectify an administrative oversight and re-assert the country's commitment to the rule of law.

"There has never been a vacuum in the protection of wildlife as other security agencies continue to conduct anti-poaching operations," he assured his audience.

He said his government would continue to avail resources and to strengthen anti-poaching unit including creating the Rhino Squad to protect the country's wildlife.

Equipment including aircraft, vehicles, he stated, has been purchased to capacitate rhino anti-poaching methods.

The country's sound management of wildlife, stable political climate as well as low human density bodes well for the sustainable consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife for the benefit of the rural population and country in general.

Moreover, President Masisi noted that despite Botswana's high ranking perception indexes on corruption the country was still faced with challenges; something he stated was being addressed through oversight institutions such as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Further he told all and sundry that Botswana's national elephant action plan consultative processes have demonstrated need for government to work closely with communities who live with wildlife and whose livelihoods are often negatively impacted by human wildlife conflict.

These communities he buttressed must benefit in a tangible manner if they are to co-exist with wildlife and must also be protected from those who seek to indiscriminately pillage the country's natural resources.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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