Botswana is party to several international treaties including those on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection and Wetlands. In common with most African countries however, there are a number of environmental issues such as overgrazing, desertification and limited fresh water resources.
There are three main NGOs in Botswana concerned with wildlife conservation – Conservation International with an office in Maun; The Kalahari Conservation Society based in Gaborone; and BirdLife Botswana (BLB), formerly the Botswana Bird Club, based in Gaborone but with an office in Maun and groups too in Francistown and Kasane. BLB is the only organisation concerned about birds. It advises the Department of Wildlife & National Parks on bird issues because DWNP has no ornithologist on its staff.
The immediate concern about a plan to pipe water from the Okavango to Windhoek in Namibia has been reduced and a study will now be carried out into the whole issue. Good rains have also reduced the issue's immediate importance. See ABC Bulletin 4:2 66 September 1997. The process of developing a management plan for the Okavango Ramsar site has begun. Whilst the pipe transfer scheme from the Okavango to Windhoek is in abeyance, however, another proposal for a weir and hydroelectric scheme across the Okavango River at Popa Falls in Namibia could threaten the future of the Okavango Delta through affecting sedimentation patterns. Large-scale water abstraction for irrigation schemes in Angola and Namibia may also pose a threat to the Delta.
Lake Ngami, an IBA and Ramsar site in north-west Botswana was declared a no-hunting reserve in November 2004. When rainfall is high, the lake can be seasonally flooded and impressive numbers of waterbirds arrive to feed and breed.
23rd October 2006: Botswana is celebrating the World Bird Festival with a variety of activities. At the beginning of October, more than 50 people took part in a bird walk around Bokaa Dam Important Bird Area (IBA). Activities continued with a birdwatching trip to see breeding flamingos at Makgadikgadi Pans IBA, and on 14 October more than 100 people attended BirdLife Botswana’s annual dinner where guests included Professor Gerhard Verdoorn (Director of BirdLife South Africa) and BirdLife Botswana’s patron, Sedia Modise.
Source: Birdlife International news
3rd May 2006: Egret proves elusive in world’s largest Ramsar site.
A survey team from BirdLife Botswana and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks recently completed a one-year survey of the 55,000 km2 Okavango Delta, the world’s largest Ramsar site and principal home of the Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula.
Valuable data on the ecology of this Vulnerable species were collected, but one question remains unanswered: where are Slaty Egrets currently breeding? The species usually nests in dense reedbeds and water fig islands, but the major historical breeding sites have been destroyed by hydrological changes and fire, and no new sites were discovered in 2005. Continuing survey work hopes to answer this question.
Source: BirdLife International
23rd November 2005: BirdLife Botswana bustard poaching probe
BirdLife Botswana has undertaken an investigation of Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori poaching and found the practice to be widespread, both for local consumption and for export to South Africa and beyond. The Kori Bustard is the world’s largest bustard and occurs across sub-Saharan Africa. Although still common in some protected areas, it is currently experiencing rapid population declines across much of its range. Botswana is a stronghold for the species, but it is threatened by habitat loss due to overgrazing and poaching. The study focused on 16 settlements bordering the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Khutse Game Reserve, both strongholds for Kori Bustard in Botswana.
Source: Fatbirder News