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SOS Rhino : In the News : Studies on conservation of endangered species ongoing

Studies on conservation of endangered species ongoing

  22 December, 2003
DailyNews OnLine

Several studies are going on to look at the ecology, distribution and numbers of cheetah, wild dog and cape vultures.

Cyril Taolo, a senior wildlife biologist, said in an interview with BOPA that it is hoped that the results of these studies will assist in the conservation of these species.

Taolo said the existence of cheetah, wild dog and cape culture as well as white rhinoceros, peregrine falcon and brown hyena is threatened because of loss of habitat and degradation, loss of access to migratory routes, over-exploitation and other reasons.

He said there is little information, if any, on the numbers of the species from 10 years ago.

Measures taken to protect endangered species include gazetting protected areas in the form of national parks and game reserves to conserve representative examples of natural ecosystems found within the borders of Botswana.

All species of flora and fauna including endangered ones occurring within these areas are protected from any form of exploitation.

Taolo said Botswana is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna.

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks enforces the convention with the aim of protecting endangered species from over exploitation.

Secondly, the department provides water to compensate for the loss of access to permanent water bodies, and it protects migratory routes by the designating certain areas as wildlife management areas.

Government also involves communities in the management of wildlife resources through the community based natural resources management and through conscientising people about the necessity of maintaining BotswanaÍs biodiversity.

Another method of protecting endangered species is the re-introduction of rare and endangered species.

The white rhinoceros, which formerly occurred widely in Botswana, has been introduced to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary and Mokolodi Nature Reserve. The ultimate aim is to reintroduce this species to the wild.

"Endangered species contribute to the unique biodiversity that is found in Botswana," Taolo said.

"Tourists visit the protected areas with the intention of seeing rare and endangered fauna and flora among others. It is important that these areas are managed appropriately to ensure the continued survival of representative examples of these species." Taolo added that many African countries are also faced with the challenge of protecting endangered species and their habitats.

Many of the above problems that face Botswana in this regard are also experienced in many other nations that are signatories to CITES. BOPA