The Deputy Speaker of the Botswana Parliament, Pono Moatlhodi, has called for the immediate introduction of a shoot to kill policy to tackle poachers targeting rhino and elephants in the country. His call for a new tougher stance against the poachers comes just days after Mozambique declared that the Limpopo National Park lost its last 15 rhino to the poachers.
With the rising demand for rhino horn and elephant ivory from China and Vietnam there is the real fear that the loss of rhino from the Limpopo National Park could just be the first in a line of national parks that will lose their populations.
Moatlhodi said that introducing the shoot-to-kill policy is essential to protect both the rhinos and the tourist trade of the country. Protecting the wildlife that the tourists come to see is essential if the country is to widen the strength of the economy and move beyond just being a diamond producing nation.
He said that there are particular concerns for the rhinos and elephants of the Kasane region in the north of Botswana which is particularly popular with tourists.
While the Botswana army has been deployed to patrol areas with high incidents of poaching particularly along the borders with Zambia and Namibia, Moatlhodi believes that giving permission to rangers, soldiers and police to shoot to kill while out on duty they will be much more effective at tackling the poachers.
Saving the high profile species of elephants, rhino and gorillas will ensure that the growing tourism industry in the country has a long-term future.