News Sunday 27 November 2016
“Lions are ambush predators; they rely on stealth and the element of surprise in order to bring down their prey,” he said. “As soon as they lose that element of surprise, as soon as the prey sees them, they abandon their hunt.”
That is why he and fellow researchers are going to Botswana to paint eyes on cows’ rumps. They hope it will prove a low-cost way to protect livestock from lions, and lions from being killed by farmers in retaliation. One of the main threats to lions in Africa is conflict with farmers, who shoot or poison them to stop them preying on livestock. In the 1990s there were more than 100,000 African lions. There could now be as few as 23,000 adults and they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Dr Jordan, a conservation biologist at the University of NSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, said farmers and local governments feel the only way they can protect livestock from lions is to kill them.
“It’s from desperation, really, because obviously the lions affect their livelihood and the non-lethal tools that might be available are all very expensive,” he said. “As protected conservation areas become smaller, lions are increasingly coming into contact with human populations, which are expanding to the boundaries of these protected areas.”
Dr Jordan, who also holds research posts at the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, was inspired to paint eyes onto cattle after watching a lion hunt an impala. When the intended prey cottoned on to the carnivore’s presence, the lion gave up the hunt.
“We wanted to hijack this natural response by painting eyes on the rumps of cows, so that lions could be tricked into thinking they’d been seen and abandon the hunt,” he said.
It’s the same kind of “psychological trickery” employed by woodcutters in India, who ward off tigers by wearing face masks on the backs of their heads, and butterflies that avoid becoming bird food thanks to eye-like patterns on their wings.
Dr Jordan trialled his idea - which he calls iCow - last year, with promising results. The researchers stamped painted eyes onto one-third of a herd of 62 cattle, making sure the eyes were large, easily visible and “potentially intimidating”. While three unpainted cows were killed by lions, all the painted cows survived to graze another day.
If successful, iCow would be an affordable tool for farmers; losing one cow costs five times as much as painting a herd of 60 cattle. Over the next three months Dr Jordan will lead further testing on another herd of cattle in Botswana.
The government has injected over P20 million into the Basarwa projects of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The sudden windfall was prompted by an unexpected directive from President Ian Khama to restore services into the neglected settlement.
The Botswana government does not recognize any specific ethnic groups as indigenous to the country, maintaining instead that all citizens of the country are indigenous. However, 3.3% of the population identifies as belonging to indigenous groups, including the San (known in Botswana as the Basarwa) who, in July 2015, numbered some 62,500. In the south of the country are the Balala, who number some 1,700 and the Nama, a Khoekhoe-speaking people who number 2,100. The majority of the San, Nama and Balala reside in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana. The San in Botswana were traditionally hunter-gatherers but today the vast majority consists of small-scale agro-pastoralists, cattle post workers, or people with mixed economies who reside both in rural and urban areas. They are sub-divided into a large number of named groups, most of whom speak their own mother tongue in addition to other languages. These groups include the Ju/’hoansi, Bugakhwe, Khwe-ǁAni, Ts'ixa, ǂX'ao-ǁ'aen, !Xóõ, ǂHoan, ‡Khomani, Naro, G/ui, G//ana, Tsasi, Deti, Shua, Tshwa, Danisi and /Xaise. The San, Balala, and Nama are among the most underprivileged people in Botswana, with a high percentage living below the poverty line.
Botswana is a signatory to the conventions on women (CEDAW), the Rights of the Child (CRC) and on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (CEDR). It is also a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but it has not signed the only international human rights convention that deals with indigenous peoples, the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169 of 1989 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
There are no specific laws on indigenous peoples’ rights in the country nor is the concept of indigenous peoples included in the Botswana Constitution.
About this site Supporting the Bushmen so they can stay in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and live there as they wish and as long as they wish. The CKGR was created for them.
Reason for establishing CKGR.
Reason for establishing CKGRQuotation from the book by George B. Silberbauer. (anthropologist and sociologist):
“In response to recommendations I made to the Bechuanaland Protectorate government on April 28, 1960, some 52.000 km2 of Ghanzi district east of the latitude of Great Tsau Hill (Sonop Koppies) was proclaimed a game reserve in 1961. This step was taken to protect the Bushman inhabitants in the area; in the late fifties illegal hunting by non- Bushmen from outside the area posed a serious threat to the hunters and gatherers who depended on the game herds for part of their livelihood. Hunting by Bushmen was not restricted in any way, but entry by non- Bushmen was controlled and the danger from poachers diminished.”
Nampol Vocational Training Center 2016