Botswana: President Dismisses Media Reports

press release

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

In a key note speech during the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference at Battersea Evolution in London on October 12, President Masisi said the decision to withdraw the arms was 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 explained.

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.

"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).

He said Botswana's national elephant action plan consultative processes had demonstrated need for government to work closely with communities who lived with wildlife and whose livelihoods were often negatively impacted by human wildlife conflict.

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

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