[botswanapredatorforum] Re: Report on Setata Fence

  • From: "Graham Hemson" <graham.hemson@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <botswanapredatorforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 14:51:06 +0300

A quick comment on Richards point.


While I agree that Lion predation on the overall scale has negligible impact
on the livestock industry, the impact on individual herd owners can be
devastating. To cite an example:- Many years ago, my father had friends who
had a dairy farm on the Athi Plains within (lion) walking distance of the
Nairobi National Park. The old man had a clear policy that any lion which
came to the farm was promptly shot and losses (to both lions and cattle)
were kept in bounds. When his son took over, he decided to tolerate the
lions. In short order, he found himself losing two pedigree Jersey cows a
week. No enterprise can sustain that level of loss and the lions, most of a
pride, had to be shot. Every stock farmer knows this, hence the attitude.


There are reasonably well established methods of keeping cattle safe from
lions in areas where they "co-exist". Of course they cost more money and
thus result in lower profits than if you shoot lions, but that is the choice
that the farmer and the society in which he lives must make. If you are not
prepared to care for livestock in a manner that reduces its availability to
predators (namely herding during the day and secure bomas at night, perhaps
using feed if you need to) then you either need to revisit whether cattle or
lions are to be there at all, or accept the end results of using techniques
inappropriate for an area in which large predators live.


I think Jan Broekhuis has ideas which I agree with whereby you make a large
tract of Botswana predator intolerant and the farmers can do what they want
with carnivores in those areas and use a but of carrot and stick to ensure
people take all efforts to minimise conflict in the rest. Of course this
needs some serious land use planning so as to minimise the economic impact
to livestock industries and the negative impact on carnivore populations in
Bots, Zim, RSA and Namibia. I think you'd write off South Eastern Botswana
as predator intolerant livestock country and concentrate on keeping
corridors of tolerance between all the major national parks.

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