Botswana

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Marching for the Big Three

Marching for the Big Three

The Kasane community march for their wildlife
The Kasane community march for their wildlife
Kelly Landen

 

The mood was upbeat at the 2015 Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion, organised by Kasane’s Elephants Without Borders to mark World Animal Day. Success on many fronts had been reported since last year’s event – and the shocking thought of a world without many of its iconic wild animals has spurred organisations to redouble their efforts in the fight for wildlife, using research and education as catalysts.

 No one can relax knowing an elephant in Africa dies every 15 minutes – and as their privileged custodians we are all responsible for their survival. Poaching is the worst scourge, but ignorance and fear also take their toll, especially in remote areas where villagers struggle to preserve their domestic livestock and crops. Close to home, Elephants Without Borders, CARACAL, Enviro911 and iKova continue to preach the priceless value of Botswana’s wildlife which, when protected by the communities in this shared natural environment, can enrich the lives of man and beast.

 The second Kasane Global March celebrated these advances. At the starting line there was a buzz of enthusiasm as people from all walks of life, came out in support. Members of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Botswana Defence Force, Prison Services and Police marched with children from local schools, conservation clubs, Bana Ba di Tlou and Chobe Brigades, concerned residents and many from the tourism sector.

 After Othusitse Basiane opened the event, Kasane’s Kgosi Shamuka delivered welcoming remarks, and the keynote speaker, Deputy Council Chairman Chabaesele, described the progress during the past twelve months.

 Children are always at the heart of education drives, and all 14 schools in this District had entered an essay and poetry competition, the subjects being poaching and the importance of wildlife to the community. Thirteen year old Joyce Mathabi from Kasane CJSS recited her winning poem on the horrors of poaching; her passionate words set the conservation scene.

 We learned how opinions in this area have begun to change. The animals living around us were formerly regarded as ‘meat’, but now, ousting the food tag, is the powerful American Dollar. Sally-Anne Follett-Smith, representing the Botswana Tourism Organisation, encouraged all to work for preservation of our environment and urged children to consider careers in tourism, one of the greatest employers in Botswana.

 Acknowledgement of the presence and assistance of the following participant groups at the Kasane Global March, which contributed to the success of the event needs to be made :

 ·         Botswana Defence Force, Prison Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kasane Police, Kazungula Police, Chobe Brigades, Bana ba di Tlou, iKova, CARACAL and KAZA.

 ·         Refreshments were kindly supplied by Elephants Without Borders, Spar, Aquarite, Jacaranda Bottle Store, Chobe Safari Lodge and The Garden Lodge.
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Winners received prizes donated by Chobe Safari Lodge, Chobe Chilwero, Africa Under Canvas, Chobezi, Flame of Africa, Chobe Game Lodge,  Big Sam Hubber Safaris and The Green Kids Club.