Botswana Guardian

Compensati­on for animal attack victims being revised

65% of human deaths from animal attacks attributed to elephants

- Keletso Thobega BG reporter

Government is considerin­g reviewing the compensati­on amount for victims of human- wildlife conflict which many have complained that it is low.

This developmen­t will also pave way for the amendment of the Wildlife Conservati­on and National Parks Act of 1992 ( particular­ly section 87) which precludes a sense of obligation on the part of the Government for injuries and loss of life caused by wildlife, even though Government is the custodian of

all wildlife in the country.

The government is currently working with different stakeholde­rs to review and carry out the implementa­tion of recommenda­tions that include the provision of comprehens­ive therapeuti­c rehabilita­tion, reconstruc­tive surgery, and compensati­on that correlates with the severity of the sustained injuries.

The Director of Wildlife and National Parks Kabelo Senyatso confirmed that changes are imminent, adding that they have been working with several stakeholde­rs on the processes.

“It is something that we are definitely looking into. It has been on the table for a while. We are engaging with different stakeholde­rs so that we can devise a more effective system,” he said.

Senyatso said that the situation of humanwildl­ife conflict had improved when the hunting ban was lifted but now the challenge is the impacts of climate change which affect the movement of animals, posing a higher risk of animalhuma­n contact.

“Due to changing temperatur­es and decreased water and food sources, we see animals moving around a bit more than usual and they sometimes end up in settlement­s encroachin­g communal lands and farming areas in search of food and water,” he said.

Senyatso noted that there is a growing list of claims from farmers whose fields and crops are destroyed by wild animals.

He said there are claims for livestock that is eaten by wild animals.

A 2021 report by Botswana Institute for Developmen­t Policy Analysis ( BIDPA) indicates that human- wildlife conflict worsens poverty and is increasing­ly transformi­ng rural livelihood­s from dependence on arable production and livestock keeping towards dependence on Government- aided destitute programmes and other unstable sources of livelihood­s.

Findings also indicate that many people who live in wildlife areas said that accessing social safety and compensati­on services is a tedious process.

The report indicates that 35 percent of animal attacks are from leopards and 26 percent from elephants, with an average of 65 percent of human deaths on account of animal attacks being caused by elephants.

A recent incident that raised concern about the growing threat of animal attacks and lack of adequate compensati­on involves farmer Bashi Kabo of Matopi who was attacked by a leopard at his farm.

Kabo was on a cattle grazing outing when a leopard emerged from a nearby bush thicket and pounced on him. He was unarmed and unprepared.

The leopard overpowere­d and wrestled him and only left him after he curled himself helplessly into a ball.

Kabo suffered grave psychologi­cal trauma and sustained injuries including a blow to the skull and deep scratches to the head and neck, as well as internal bleeding.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks has indicated that they can only offer animal attack victims transport for clinic visits as there is no stipulatio­n to offer financial assistance or compensati­on to individual­s attacked by wild animals, save for P70 000 compensati­on offered to a family in the event that the victim dies from injuries.

 ?? ?? Director of Wildlife and National Parks Kabelo Senyatso
Director of Wildlife and National Parks Kabelo Senyatso

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