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Relocation of wildebeests on course

Seventy-six wildebeests have been captured at Sekhutlane farms for translocation to the Kalahari Trans-frontier Park (KTP) and Botswana Defence Force’s Thebephatshwa Park.

This is part of an ongoing operation which began last month, to prevent contact between wildebeests and cattle and that had led to the spread of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) among cattle.

The move is in response to pleas from farmers in the area, who had expressed displeasure over the loss of their cattle, citing transmission of MCF by wildebeests in the Gasita, Lerolwane, Sekhutlane area.

In an interview recently, the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Mmolotsi Dikolobe said the exercise was meant to ensure ecological integrity.

He indicated that out of the 76 wildebeests, 30 would be taken to Thebephatshwa, while the rest would be taken to KTP. 

This, Dr Dikolobe said, brings to 473, the total number of wildebeests that have been translocated adding that some having been transported to Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

He acknowledged that the numbers reflected notable success. However, he said they were faced with challenges such as the tough terrains of the sandvelt.

He noted that the destinations were also far and that they have experienced breakdowns.

He said the process was also tedious and required expertise to ensure animals do not escape.

Dr Dikolobe shared that as MCF could not be treated, the only most efficient control measure was separating the carrier (wildebeests) from the  cattle.

He also appreciated the support and cooperation from the farmers, although they had suffered major losses and pleaded for patience from those whom they have not reached, adding that the process was slow.

Dr Dikolobe noted that they were still considering culling some of the wildebeests and auctioning the meat for public consumption to the nearby villages, including Gasita, Lerolwane and Sekhutlane.

For his part, a Gasita farmer, Mr Benjamin Kgamanyane appreciated the government’s efforts to translocate the wildebeest, adding ‘The more animals in our grazing land, the more our cattle are susceptible to the disease’. 

He said although the problem dated years back, this year, they were hardest hit. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thuso Kgakatsi

Location : Kanye

Event : Relocation of wildebeests

Date : Jun 16 Tue,2020

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