Botswana kills stray cattle

The disease has, however, been brought under control in other areas that had been affected, leading to the resumption of beef exports to the European Union.

The killing of stray cattle in Bobirwa started last Saturday.

Director of Animal Health Musa Fanikiso said in the first two days of the exercise 132 cattle were killed and disposed of in the affected zones.

He said there are various methods of disposal, with the most widely used being the burning of the carcasses.

He said there is no compensation for the killed cattle as they are deemed to have no owners.

“We work hand in hand with farmers to ascertain that such cattle indeed do not have owners,” Fanikiso told Mnegi.

Farmers who are able to identify their stray animals are allowed to reclaim and slaughter them for meat after they are inspected.

Meanwhile, some farmers said they were not aware that the killing of stray cattle to control FMD had started.

When contacted, the farmers said they were ordered to fence the wells that such cattle have been drinking from so that they could be vaccinated there. Mmadinare headman, Phokontsi Seeletso said he was not aware that the killing of cattle has already started in his area.

Last week, he sent some police officers to establish if indeed the killing had started. However, he was later to learn that indeed the exercise had started and was told that 75 cattle had been killed in Bobirwa and six in the area between Letsibogo and Motloutse Dams.

Meanwhile, the Botswana Minister of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, says the government would like to see meaningful community involvement in the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) and a fair share of its benefits through committing resources to its development and eventual operation.

Mokaila was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding establishing TFCA at the confluence of Shashe and Limpopo rivers by ministers of environment from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.

He said as the TFCA straddled three countries, and hence a mix of stakeholders and interests, the project was expected to enhance socio-economic development of the three nations.

He urged the stakeholders to commit land to TFCA. In Botswana all the land currently committed to the TFCA was private land, owned by a range of entities and individuals.

He said Botswana had also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Tuli Game Reserve Landowners Association, outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party in the TFCA process.

He explained that such an agreement is a sign of the Botswana government’s commitment to form smart partnerships with the private sector on major conservation and development programmes.

Mokaila further said the elephant population in the region was not only a source of wealth but also the cause of problems mostly for the communities that lived in the range.

However, he said he hoped that with a much increased land surface for wildlife control of the animals, it would even be easier to help reduce pressure on the Botswana side.

Francis Nhema, the Zimbabwean Minister of Environment and Tourism, expressed hope that the TFCA would usher in maximum protection of natural resources in the proposed area, adding that transnational cooperation and development alliances and management were crucial if the conservation area was to be successful.

Nhema urged all the stakeholders to cooperate with their respective governments and market the TFCA in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He praised the concept of establishing frontiers, adding that a similar project by five countries may be established in the future in the Okavango area.

He said such projects were a right step in the economic integration of the region and must be nurtured and protected at all costs.

South African minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said his government had spent R30 million on land acquisition and R20 million to upgrade infrastructure for the TFCA.

He said the TFCA was expected to cover 80 000 hectares of land and the mass of land could not be managed by governments alone.

July 2006
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