New National Park fence in place along the Boteti
Due to the global pandemic tourism activities, including hunting, all but came to a halt in April 2020 when the country went into lockdown. Since then, local tourism has increased, and a few international tourists are travelling but many are restricted by Covid-19 restrictions and protocols. This delayed the opening of the resumption of hunting in Botswana until the 30th March 2021, and we can confirm that this has now resumed and at least one hunt has occurred in our study area.
Whilst most of our research activities have been able to resume unhindered this year, regional travel restrictions are taking a toll on our logistics as our main service town Maun, where we buy our supplies, get our permits and services our vehicles is in another region!
There has been no obvious change in the behaviour of elephants when we first see them when observed in the National Park, however with just the one hunt so far this is to be expected. We shall also be using our data to compare the reaction to humans between the cropping and non-cropping season.
It is also interesting to note that the Department of Wildlife and National Park are re-erecting the park fence on the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, which will limit the access the elephants have to the community side and may affect their behaviour and their reaction indices due to the stress of not being able to access valuable resources. We look forward to finding out.
We hope that this finds you in good health.
Research Officer Thata observing elephants