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Conservasionists to meet in Kasane

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Heads of state, ministers, and heads of conservation organisations of about 35 countries are among the many guests expected to converge in the tourist town of Kasane this month.

The first conference scheduled for March 23rd is the high level follow up meeting to the African Elephant Summit (AES).

The purpose of this meeting will be to review progress since the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade hosted by the UK in February 2014.

Two days later the govt will also host the international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT2015) on March 25th.

Addressing a press conference this week, The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama explained that IWT2015 is going to be a technical meeting to review progress in implementing 14 urgent measures that were adopted at the African Elephant Summit that was held in December 2013.

The previous meeting was prompted by the large number of African Elephants that have been poached over the last three years.

“ It is estimated that 100 000 elephants have been killed for their ivory over a three year period. The number of elephants killed exceeds the ability of the animals to reproduce leading to concerns that populations are in decline.” the minister explained.

He went on to reveal that out of the many countries that were present at the summit that agreed on the 14 urgent measures to combat elephant poaching , Botswana was “lightyears” ahead of others when it came to implementation.

“ We have the political will, we have the communities buy-in and we are doing it just because we can. We are doing it to save the wildlife as indicated by the elephant without borders report,” Khama said.

Among the 14 agreed upon strategies to curb poaching are; adopting a zero tolerance to elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, improving monitoring of elephant populations, levels of illegal killing and illegal trade and mobilising financial and technical resources from various national and international resources.

Khama however acknowledged that the demand for land has resulted in human- animal conflict over a scarce resource which would require well thought out conflict management strategies.

“This event won’t just be another talk shop for us but rather an opportunity and a platform to say we are serious about preserving the African elephant,” minister Khama explained.