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Drought results in high cattle mortality

A total of 127 cattle died between July and September this year in the North East District due to acute drought conditions. 

An official from department of animal production, Mr Ishmael Balulami, said this in a recent interview. 

He said minimal rainfall that occurred in the last raining season resulted in lack of grazing for livestock.

Mr Balulami said small dams within villages were usually filled with water in September even before the rain season commenced, but this had not been the case lately, hence cattle moving long distances  to access bigger dams in the outskirts of villages.

Livestock, he explained, died enroute to water sources due to thirst and fatigue while some got stuck on the mud at water points. 

Mr Balulami, who is the principal technical officer in the same department, said the drought might linger around for a while due to the fact that grazing land was struggling to recover as a result of poor rain and extreme heat wave.

He highlighted that government continued to assist with livestock feeds and medication subsidies to mitigate the impact of drought on livestock. 

For his part, senior wildlife warden, Mr Odirile Kgotla, concurred that rangeland condition was poor in the district due to a dry spell experienced in the last season.

He said with the current status the rangeland was likely not to sustain wildlife during the dry season of 2021.

Mr Kgotla indicated that water was fair in dams such as Dikgatlhong, Ntimbale, Shashe, game ranches and open mine ponds hence sufficient for wildlife to drink.

However, he noted that the district continued to experience human and wildlife conflict caused by elephants.

He said a total of 46 cases were registered between July and September where elephants destroyed farms, kraals, cemeteries and water tanks in villages. 

Mr Kgotla said migration of elephants was sighted in communal area as the animals moved to look for grazing land and water sources.

He highlighted that education programs were conducted in villages to raise awareness on animal migration and behavior.

The officer said it was recommended that an electrified cluster fence be established at hotspots areas in Matsiloje, Ditladi and Patayamatebele field crops as a measure to protect crops from elephant damages. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Portia Ikgopoleng

Location : Masunga

Event : Interview

Date : Nov 19 Thu,2020

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