Botswana: Community, Officials Dispose Carcasses

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Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa.

Maun — Nxaraga community in collaboration with some members of sub-district Disaster Management Team have embarked on an operation to dispose off hippos and cattle carcasses in and around Nxaraga pond.

It was reported that some of the deaths were due to territorial fights by the hippos while some died because of lack of vegetation.

About nine hippos and two cattle carcasses were removed from the pond.

The operation followed concern by members of the community that the carcasses were contaminating the little remaining water which was a sources of water for livestock.

People were also complaing about the bad smell from the pond which they said posed a threat to their health. As such the disaster team engaged the community which acted accordingly to reduce the impact before the situation went out of control. Village Development Committee vice chairperson, Mr Othusitse Moderaeba raised a concern that some people were fishing from the same pond and pleaded with them to stop as the water was not safe.

The village leadership was also concerned about public health and livestock welfare. They thanked the community for demonstrating the spirit of volunteerism during difficult times.

Nxaraga chief, Kgosi Gaolatlhe Kgosigaenyatswe thanked public officers for responding positively to the community's concern adding that the situation called for everyone to take part because it was a natural disaster caused by severe drought.

He also thanked the Smit family for their support as they pledged machinery, personnel, and time to ensure the success of the operation adding that they proved that indeed they were part of the community. The Smit family operate irrigation farming in Nxaraga.

Kgosi Kgosigaonyaetswe who lost six of his cattle in the pond explained that farmers lost their cattle after drinking from the pond. He said cattle had some walking difficulties after drinking the water. A farmer, Mr Merafe Masake who resides some few metres from the pond concurred that cattle die after drinking water from the pond. He lost three of his cattle after drinking the contaminated water.

In a recent interview, Dr Comfort Nkgowe from department of Wildlife and National Parks revealed that there were two ponds at Nxaraga village and during their assessment, they found out that due to low water levels, many hippos had relocated from Nxaicha pond to Nxaraga pond which had more than 200 hippos.

Assistant district commissioner, Mr Ramogaupi Gaborekwe thanked the community for playing a key role towards protecting the environment and the natural resources.

He admitted that the severe drought had left some water sources dried up. He stated that public health was a priority hence the need to come up with some intervention to manage the situation.

Area councillor, Mr Morolong Mosimanyana informed the gathering that measures were underway to water the animals at the pond adding the department of Wildlife and National Parks had secured some boreholes which it intends to equip and pump water to the existing ponds in the area.

Source : BOPA

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