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Zimbabwe cattle, donkeys border jumps into Botswana, shot dead

by Staff reporter
31 Jul 2020 at 07:30hrs | Views
OVER 180 cattle and 109 donkeys from Mashaba in Gwanda and Beula in Kezi were shot in Botswana in the past week after they strayed into the neighbouring country.

In 2006, Botswana introduced a shoot to kill policy to destroy all cattle that stray into their territory. Authorities in that country resorted to the policy arguing that Zimbabwe had cases of foot-and-mouth disease which affected their beef export business.

A number of Zimbabwean animals have been lost as a result of the policy. The Veterinary Services Department in Matabeleland South Province recently held a campaign to educate farmers to ensure that cattle do not stray into Botswana.

In an interview, Matabeleland South provincial veterinary officer, Dr Enat Mdlongwa said their efforts have proved fruitless as animals continue to stray into the neighbouring country.

"Over 180 cattle and 109 donkeys from Mashaba area, Gwanda and Beula area in Kezi have been shot in Botswana over the past week after they strayed into the neighbouring country. This is a huge concern for us as a country as these figures are alarming," he said.

"Efforts to educate people to look after their animals and avoid unnecessary incursions into Botswana have proved fruitless. A destruction team from Botswana is now permanently residing along the common border and shooting any animals straying into their country which means we might lose more cattle if the attitude of farmers doesn't change."

Dr Mdlongwa said despite efforts that had been made by the veterinary department to raise awareness among communities, people continue to allow their animals to stray into Botswana. He appealed to farmers especially those situated near the border to take extra care of their cattle.

Dr Mdlongwa said his department was in the process of mobilising resources to sink pumps and push water inland far from the border line in order to stop animals from seeking water at sources close to the border, prompting them to stray.

The councillor of Ward 19 in Gwanda, Tompson Makhalima said many villagers from his ward were losing their cattle. Clr Makhalima said animals strayed into Botswana in search of pastures.

"It's difficult to contain these animals from straying into the neighbouring country due to a number of reasons. Elephants continue to destroy the border line fence which creates a way for livestock to stray into Botswana.

"It's difficult for people to control their animals under such circumstances. Animals drink their water at Shashe River which is close to the borderline and from there they stray into the neighbouring country as it has good pastures while our area has run out of pastures," he said.

Source - chronicle

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