Botswana continues to rack in visitors for its top-of-the-line safaris where visitors can see the famous “Big Five” game animals (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and water buffaloes). Of course, this comes with the tragedy that these species and the rest of the animal kingdom are hunted illegally on a daily basis. But you can make a difference by making a small donation or getting involved with plenty of organizations that are fighting back. Here are some of the most endangered species of Botswana and the organizations that work hard to protect them.
If you spot these docile creatures on your safari trip, consider yourself lucky to witness these majestic animals before they die off into extinction. It’s believed by 2024, there will be no Black Rhinos left in the wild. Sadly, they’re over-hunted for their horns that is believed to be medicinal for several Eastern countries. Rhino Conservation Botswana is a dedicated program where rangers, activists and even guard dogs monitor the remaining black rhinos to make sure they are kept away from poachers. You can learn more about other ways to pitch in to join the fight here.
The Brown Hyena Research Project is based in Namibia but the team travels as far as Botswana to study and learn more about the animals. They’re being killed by locals who consider them to be pests since they do break into farms to eat livestock. They’re either shot on sight or poisonous traps have been left out for them by farmers. Today, it’s estimated that there are only 5,000 to 8,000 brown hyenas left roaming in the continent which places them on the critically endangered list. When visiting Botswana, stop by and make a donation to Central Kalahari Game Reserve one of the few protected parks of the species and learn how you can help.
They may look like your cat Fluffy, but these wild cats are rapidly declining in population. The Black-Footed Cat is the smallest African cat breed and is constantly being hunted by bushmen for their meat. They’re also at risk of being road kill and preyed on by larger predators. European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) has stepped in by taking in hundreds of captive cats in their zoo in Wuppertal where they make a conscious effort to breed them to keep them from extinction. Audubon Nature Institute also does their fair share of helping out by conducting in vitro fertilization in hopes of saving this animal. By making donations to either one of these programs, you’ll help them further their mission.
African Wild Dogs
Wild dogs are poached and killed off by farmers to protect their livestock and crops. Painted Dog Conservation is based in Zimbabwe and has a sole mission to repopulate the 7,000 or so African Wild Dogs left on the continent. The conservation sends out a team of rangers that patrols where herds are known to dwell to make sure poachers don’t pose a threat to them. The program also has its own rehabilitation facility to heal and re-introduce the dogs into the wild. Your small donation will go a long way to protect this dying species.
They may not be the prettiest birds on the block but they’re a quite majestic breed in Botswana and play an integral role to the ecosystem. Cape Vultures are fantastic for removing waste since their diet largely relies on carcasses. There are less than 10,000 of them left. They are being reduced due to human intervention where they are poisoned by locals, electrocuted on cables or simply starving to death due to loss of things to forage. It doesn’t help that a female Cape Vulture is capable of only laying one egg per year. Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is doing its part to help out by offering up an open-air space “restaurant” with fields of carcasses and leftover bones for the birds to feast on.
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