Botswana mulls new natural conservation plan following mysterious elephant deaths

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GABORONE, July 14 (Xinhua) — Botswana has announced intention to review the country’s elephant management plan.

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism on Tuesday said crafting of the blueprint expected to guide management and conservation of elephants, are at an advanced stage.

“In addition, the government is investing in building local capacity for testing, to this end, the ministry is setting up its own laboratory working alongside with stakeholders to acquire advanced testing equipment.” said Onalenna Moyo, spokesperson at the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism.

The development comes at the backdrop of mysterious elephants’ death in Seronga, near the Okavango Delta, with 281 verified deaths against the 356 reported cases.

Investigations are ongoing regarding the unexplained deaths of elephants and the government has devoted resources.

“Initial testing of samples was conducted locally and for further additional testing, the samples were sent to reputable laboratories abroad. However, the movement restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, have adversely affected the movement of diagnostic samples to foreign laboratories causing delays in receipts of the results. Nonetheless results from Zimbabwe are currently being analyzed and interpreted whilst results from other laboratories are expected in a week time.” said Moyo.

Last week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat in its latest SADC response to COVID-19 bulletin has challenged members of the bloc to increase joint transboundary conservation activities to complement strengths and increase effectiveness against illegal activities. Enditem

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