Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Minister, Tshekedi Khama, has cautioned poachers to carry out their activities at their own peril.
When addressing the closing ceremony of the just ended Race For Rhinos that was held in Makgadikgadi salt pans near Nata over the weekend, Khama announced that about 100 Rhinos were due to be relocated to Botswana from South Africa for safekeeping.
The Minister acknowledged that conservation was an expensive exercise, but said Botswana could not afford to ignore it.
He said despite limited funding that has been received from China and Italy- Botswana, with a favourable political, will was committed to conserving its wildlife, especially the endangered rhinos.
In a thinly veiled justification for government’s shoot to kill policy against poachers, Khama said the animals would be protected at all costs.
“So I promise you that we cannot afford to lose any of the rhinos that are in this country. We are also going to protect the rhinos that are coming to this country. We haven’t made friends when it comes to our approach towards poachers but that still stands. In fact poachers should start carrying their IDs so that we can notify their next of kin. Yes, God will judge the poachers but its up to us to arrange the meeting,” Khama assured.
The Minister commended Debswana for their commitment towards conservation following the 13 rhinos that were introduced to Orapa Game Park and have since multiplied to 59.
Debswana, through Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines pledged about P250 000.00 towards the conservation of the 100 rhinos that will be coming to Botswana soon.
The Race for Rhinos event that involved various activities including aircraft and quad-bike stunts was also graced by the presence of President Ian Khama and Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Thapelo Olopeng.