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Botswana suspends elephant hunting ban2 minutes read

Landlocked Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, with more than 135,000 roaming freely

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Botswana suspends elephant hunting ban
African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), around a water hole, Nxai pan national park, Bostwana. Biosphoto / Sylvain Cordier

Botswana on Wednesday lifted its ban on elephant hunting, saying the population had increased and farmers’ livelihoods were being impacted, in a move set to trigger outrage from conservationists.

A prohibition on elephant hunting was introduced in the country in 2014 by then-president Ian Khama, a keen environmentalist.

But lawmakers from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have been lobbying to overturn the ban, saying numbers have become unmanageably large in some areas.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi took over from Khama last year and a public review began five months later, with reports suggesting growing political friction between Masisi and his predecessor.

“Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

It said a cabinet committee review that found that “the number and high levels of human-elephant conflict and the consequent impact on livelihoods was increasing”.

“The general consensus from those consulted was that the hunting ban should be lifted,” it added, vowing that hunting would be re-started “in an orderly and ethical manner”.

Landlocked Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, with more than 135,000 roaming freely in its unfenced parks and wide open spaces.

Some experts say the number of elephants in the country, renowned as a luxury safari destination, has almost tripled over the last 30 years, and that the population could now be over 160,000.

Crops destroyed –

Farmers struggle to keep elephants out of their fields where they eat crops and can kill people.

Lifting the hunting ban could be a popular move with rural voters ahead of an election due in October.

Many of Botswana’s elephants roam across borders into Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

All four countries have called for a global ban on elephant ivory trade to be relaxed due to the growing number of the animals in some regions.

“We cannot continue to be spectators while others debate and take decisions about our elephants,” Masisi told a meeting of the countries’ presidents this month in Botswana.

“Conflict between elephants and people is on the rise as the demand for land for agriculture and settlements is growing,” he said.

While elephant numbers have increased in some areas, over the past decade, the population of elephants across Africa has fallen by about 111,000 to 415,000, largely due to poaching for ivory, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Zimbabwe said this month it had sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of $2.7 million over six years due to overpopulation.

Botswana last year rejected claims by a leading conservation charity that there had been a surge of elephant poaching.

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Lifestyle News

Body recovered after vehicle plunges into Indian Ocean

Police and family members have identified the sole occupant of the vehicle as John Mutinda, 46

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The body of a man and his vehicle have been recovered from the Likoni channel, Kenya, following an accident where his car plunged into the ocean at 4:20 am local time on Saturday morning. Police and family members have identified the sole occupant of the vehicle as John Mutinda, 46.

According to a statement issued Bakari Gowa, the Managing Director of the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), the driver attempted to avoid the toll station and drove into the loading area from the wrong side of the road. Attempts to were made by ferry staff to stop him but he proceeded to drive at top speed off the ramp and into the ocean.

Multi-agency rescue efforts by the Kenya Coast Guard, the Kenya Ferry Services, the Kenya Navy and the Police were launched immediately. The body of the deceased was subsequently recovered at 9:30 am on Saturday morning and transported to the Coast General Hospital Mortuary by police. Retrieval efforts continued thereafter, resulting in the retrieval of the vehicle from the channel at 12:00 pm.

The accident comes barely three months after a woman and child tragically drowned in a separate accident when their vehicle reversed while on a ferry and sank into the channel mid-transit.

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Lifestyle News

Tropical cyclone Pawan makes landfall in Nugaal, Somalia

The storm hit the coastal city of Eyl in the Nugaal region, bringing with it heavy rainfall and turbulent winds.

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Tropical cyclone Pawan has made landfall on Saturday morning, affecting the northeastern part of Somalia as predicted earlier in the week.

The storm hit the coastal city of Eyl in the Nugaal region, bringing with it heavy rainfall and turbulent winds. The town has borne the brunt of the storm, with locals reporting of fishermen’s boats capsizing off the coast and a cell tower belonging to Golis Telecom falling and causing damage to adjacent buildings.

A forecast issued by the Somali Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) on Tuesday warned of heavy rainfall and strong winds over the north and central parts of the Horn of Africa country over the course of the next few days.

Elsewhere in Puntland state, the regional government delayed all flights leaving Garowe airport as a result of heavy rains and floods, by-products of the cyclone. There have also been local reports of 2 vehicles being swept away near Bossasso.

The storm is expected to decline in intensity as it moves inland.

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East Africa News

Egerton University shuts down following student protests

Main campus in Njoro, as well as the Nakuru town campus, were subsequently closed indefinitely

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Egerton University Shuts down Following Student Protests
Egerton University Library. Photo: Egerton University Website

The students of the Njoro main campus of Egerton University, an institution based in Nakuru County, Kenya, went on a rampage on Wednesday morning in protest of a decision by the administration to bar any students with fees arrears from sitting for the exams scheduled to commence on Thursday.

According to student leaders, over 5000 students were at risk of getting their studies deferred to the next academic year starting September 2020 for failure to pay the requisite fees before the set deadline.

The statement announcing indefinite shutdown signed by Egerton University’s acting registrar.

The protesting students engaged riot police in running battles who lobbed teargas in an attempt to disperse the crowd who are alleged to have destroyed campus property. The students accused the police of firing live rounds: Several students collected shell casings on the campus grounds, alleged to have been fired by the police sent to quell the protests.

The main campus in Njoro, as well as the Nakuru town campus, were subsequently closed indefinitely and students ordered to vacate the premises by 2:30 pm on Wednesday.

These protests and campus closure follow that of other public universities (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Maseno University and Kenyatta University) over similar issues in the last few months.

The university administration did not respond to requests for comment at the time of going to print.

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