Contents1Expert Advice Disregarded2Maps3Veterinary Fences:Shrouded in Controversy4Conclusions andRecommendations5References6 Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIAExecutive SummaryAcknowledgementsMany thanks to Brian Emmerson and allat Emmerson Press for printing thisbriefing.Emmerson Press: 44 (0)1926 854400This briefing was written and researchedby Craig Gibson, Patricia Hadfield andMary Rice. Picture research and reportdesign by Joaquim Pereira.Printed on recycled paper.The Environmental Investigation Agency(EIA) is an independent, internationalcampaigning organization committed toinvestigating and exposing environmentalcrime. Since 1984, EIA has used pioneeringinvestigative techniques all over the world toexpose the impact of environmental crime andto seek lasting solutions. EIA’s aims are to: Stop illegal trade in endangered speciesAbove:Map of BotswanaAbove right:The fence has cut a swathe through pristine riverine forest inside the park.Front cover photos: backround Craig Gibson, inset, from left to right Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIA, EIA, Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIA. Back cover photo: Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIA. Gain lasting protection for speciesunder threat Protect the shared environment of manand

Executive Summary Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIAStakeholdersare extremelyconcernedthat thenecessarymitigationmeasureswill not beimplemented.Left:The electrifiedcordon will extendfor 480kmExecutive SummaryThe Salt Pans complex of the MakgadikgadiNational Park is the largest wetland habitat inBotswana, and has been proposed forprotection under the international RamsarConvention. Situated in north-centralBotswana, the saltpans support some of the lasttruly migratory wildlife in northern Botswana,notably blue wildebeest (Connochaetestaurinus) and plains zebra (Equus burchelli). Asignificant number of bird species, including theendangered Wattled Crane (Bugeranuscarunculatus) and seasonal breeding colonies offlamingoes (Phoenicopterus sp.), furtherenhance the ecological diversity of the area.The government of Botswana’s decision to erectan electrified disease control fence around theMakgadikgadi National Park is an attempt toaddress long-standing issues of problemanimals, livestock encroachment and livestockdisease control. The fence will extend for 480kilometres and is intended to limitpredator/livestock conflict that has beset localcommunities adjacent to the Park, but hassignificant implications for the futuremanagement of the Makgadikgadi ecosystemand National Park. In order to assess theimpact of the construction and operation of theproposed fence, the Department of Wildlife andNational Parks (DWNP) commissionedindependent consultants Scott WilsonKirkpatrick and Partners to carry out anEnvironmental Appraisal (EA) of the proposedfence, which included a series of mitigationmeasures that would minimise theenvironmental impact of the project.Fence construction began in 2003 and haslargely disregarded the alignment and themitigation measures as recommended by theEA. Consequently, the majority of the BotetiRiver now lies outside the boundaries of theNational Park, which means that wildlifewithin the park has considerably less access tothe river and its associated water and grazingresources. Local stakeholders are extremelyconcerned that the necessary mitigationmeasures will not be implemented and that theremaining construction phase will be similarlyflawed.The European Union (EU) provides financialand technical assistance to a wide range ofgovernment ministries and departmentsincluding the DWNP. In this instance, the EUco-finances a Wildlife Conservation andManagement Program (WCMP) to the tune of14 million (co-financed between the EuropeanDevelopment Fund and the government ofBotswana).1

Expert Advice DisregardedExpert AdviceDisregardedThe Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and PartnersEnvironmental Appraisal (EA), submitted inFebruary 2002, was essentially a desk-basedstudy involving a limited fieldwork andconsultation process. In addition, DWNPrequested that Scott Wilson produce anEnvironmental Management Plan (EMP) toaddress all the mitigation measures proposed aspart of the EA.lead to an increase in grass biomass that isexpected to increase the intensity of fires. TheEA strongly recommends that a:"Comprehensive Fire Management Plan bedeveloped, the necessary equipment purchased,the staff and local communities are trained, andthe necessary preventive measures be put inplace."5 To date, no fire management plan hasbeen developed.The Final Report considered it essential that thefollowing management and mitigation measuresbe put in place prior to construction:Community Based NaturalResources Management(CBRNM) DevelopmentWater Resource Management"Viable dry season water provision forwildlife, particularly migratoryspecies."1The EA consultants specifically recommended awater management policy be developed andimplemented as a priority, before the erection ofthe fence. The climate of the Makgadikgadiarea is semi-arid, with water availabilityrestricted in the dry season.2 The alignment ofthe fence along the Boteti River has distortedthe availability of viable dry season water formigratory wildlife in particular. The EArecommended that any plan should includeprovision of pumped water in areas adjacent tothe dry season range for wildlife. It also statedthat: "Wildlife populations will be moreconcentrated around these fewer water pointsavailable to them, with correspondingly higherrisks of predation and degradation of the areasaround them."3 The report indicates that thevegetation is unlikely to withstand the sustainedpressure of resident populations of migratoryspecies.Fire Management"Outbreaks of fire have beenidentified as one of the major risks ofthe proposal to erect the game-prooffence."4Fire is a key feature of the Makgadikgadisystem. Fire management is particularlyrelevant given the generous rains of 2003/2004,which have produced a substantial fuelbiomass. Unmanaged fire events have thepotential to cause significant wildlife mortalityand the destruction of dry season forage.Wildlife is likely to stampede into the fence inan attempt to flee a fire. Furthermore, theexclusion of cattle from the park is likely to2" If surrounding communities areexcluded from wildlife and tourismventures then the viability of theNational Park in the long term seemsdoubtful "6The future viability of tourism operations in thearea in relation to the chosen alignment of thefence is an obvious deficiency of the project.This is particularly evident in the west, whereinsensitive alignment and the apparent omissionof community interests are evident. In the east,contingency plans for resettlement andcompensation does not appear to be at anadvanced stage, considering the timeframes andcomplexity of the local politics surrounding theissue. The EA team recommended: "In theinterest of good relations between the Park andlocal communities, compensation should bemade to all established settlements ”7Alternative routes regarding the alignment havebeen suggested by the EA team" in order toinclude potential CBNRM/tourism sites withinthe fenced area, so that their potential can berealised.”8 The EA also states that: “Withoutenclosing them, their potential will be severelylimited, if not lost."9Park Management Capacity"Fencing will require a substantialdevelopment in park managementcapacity."10The EA states explicitly that: “Overall fencingwill require a substantial development in parkmanagement capacity ”11 and that".dramatic changes in management need to beput in place prior to fence construction thefence is likely to have a negative impact onwildlife unless management plans are put inplace and rigorously implemented.”12

MapsBelow:General context of the area with the recommended eastern alignment of the fence Scott WilsonBelow:Makgadikgadi zebra home ranges depicting the importance of the eastern ‘wet’ season range. Chris Brooks3

Veterinary Fences: Shrouded in Controversy Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIAproved similarly fatal to seasonally residentcolonies of Lesser and Greater Flamingos whichbreed on the saline salt flats in the east of thePan complex. Recent reports indicate thewestern fenced portion is already impactingnegatively, with wildlife becoming entangledand trapped between the two fences. As long asthey remain intact, they pose a continued threatto migrating wildlife.15People vs. WildlifeVeterinary Fences:Shrouded in ControversyVeterinary cordon fences are deemed anecessary facet of Botswana's disease controlmeasures that serve the country's exportoriented beef industry. Due to the disruptiveeffect they have on the traditional migratoryroutes of wildlife, these artificial barriers arewidely attributed with the decline in Botswana’scontemporary wildlife populations.13The Makgadikgadi area is already host to anumber of veterinary fences, including thenotorious Kuke cordon fence which accountedfor the deaths of some 65,000 wildebeest in theearly 1980’s.14 Other fences in the area have4 EIAAbove:Wildlife has had amajor impact on thelives of local peopleRight:The insensitivealignment of thefence has alreadyled to significantwildlife mortality inthe west.The longstanding conflict between wildlife andlivestock in the Makgadikgadi area began whenthe Boteti River dried up during the drought inthe 1980’s.16 Since then there has been nonatural body of water to act as a barrier and asa result cattle have been able to encroachillegally into the National Park and wildlifehave, in turn, been able to venture into thevillage areas. Cattle are found in particularlyhigh concentrations along the Boteti where theycompete with wildlife for grazing and water.17In 1991 there were around 150,000 cattle in theMakgadikgadi area,18 with an estimated 32,000head of cattle in the immediate vicinity of thepark (representing just over one percent of thenational cattle population).19 Predation oflivestock, particularly by lions, has become arecurrent event and has estranged the localcommunity from the potential benefits ofconservation and associated wildlife-based ecotourism.

Conclusions and RecommendationsConclusionsRecommendationsThe principal concerns of stakeholders arethose relating to the future management of theMakgadikgadi National Park. They areparticularly concerned that therecommendations of the consultants asrepresented in the Scott Wilson EnvironmentalAppraisal (EA) are implemented. They include:EIA urges the Delegation of the European Unionin Botswana to take a more proactive stance inthe fulfilment of their obligations inherent inthe Botswana Wildlife Conservation andManagement Program. The sensitive alignment of the southern andeastern boundary fence Water resource management Fire management CBNRM development Park administration and managementThe alignment favoured by DWNP in the southwould bisect the Boteti River delta, having anenormous impact on the integrity of an elementof the Makgadikgadi wetland intended fordesignation as Botswana’s second Ramsar site.The eastern alignment is currently unresolveddue to a claim by the local community relatingto grazing access. However this area is crucialto the migratory zebra population’s wet seasonrange, as well as being home to a number oftourism operations. The community favours analignment that follows the current parkboundary, a scenario that would conflictsignificantly with the abovementioned land useinterests. The EA favours an alternative routethat follows the district boundary which woulddisplay a “marked increase in the viability ofCBNRM activities”20 but which would involvethe relocation of existing settlements in thearea.EIA urges the Ramsar Convention to convey itsconcerns to the government of Botswanaregarding the construction of the fence, withparticular regard to sustaining the uniqueecology of the Boteti River deltas andMakgadikgadi Pans complex.EIA urges local stakeholders, including thoseworking in the tourism industry andconservation organisations, to liase with oneanother and to develop a unified approach indealing with future negotiations relating to theissue.EIA urges the Department of Wildlife andNational Parks to: ensure retroactive mitigation measures toremedy errors in the current constructionare implemented as a matter of urgency. ensure that a post-construction audit isundertaken to review the overall success of theproject. adopt a proactive stance in addressingconcerns relating to the future capacity of thedepartment to effectively manage the park. adopt an equitable compromise to futurealignment, particularly with respect to theeastern boundary. develop and implement a sustainable CBNRMeconomy for communities in the areasurrounding the Park.Below:The salt panssupport a significantpopulation ofmigratory plainszebra (EquusBurchelli). Craig Gibson/Mary Rice/EIAMaintaining the 480 kilometres of electrifiedfencing has significant cost implications that arecompounded by a number of practicalconsiderations. The effectiveness of theelectrified fence is untested, particularly withregard to elephant and lion who haverepeatedly breached the cordon in recentmonths. This, in turn, will impact on theefficacy of disease control as well as thecontainment of predators in the park. Inaddition, the Boteti is likely to have floodevents in the future, which will impact on theintegrity of the fence in numerous locations.The decommissioning of the three existing setsof fences within the Makgadikgadi Pans area(Nxai Pan Buffalo Fence, Mokobaxane, BLDCranch fencing in Odiakwe) is also considered anecessary requirement of the project.Reservations have been expressed by foreigndonors as to the sustainability of DWNPdespite the considerable investment of foreigngovernments: “In spite of the capacity that hasbeen built up within the Wildlife department, itis still overly dependent on foreign technicalexpertise.”21EIA urges European Union governments andthe European Parliament to convey to thegovernment of Botswana their concern over theconstruction and alignment of the fence.5

References1. Environmental Appraisal for the Construction of a Game Proof Fencearound Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Final Report, Scott WilsonKirkpatrick & Partners 2002. Pg 582. ‘Desertification in Botswana.’ Darkoh, M.B.K., 2000. RALA ReportNo.200.3. Environmental Appraisal for the Construction of a Game Proof Fencearound Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Final Report Part 2Environmental Management Plan, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners2002. Pg 17.4. Ibid. As above.5. Ibid. As above.6. Environmental Appraisal for the Construction of a Game Proof Fencearound Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Final Report, Scott WilsonKirkpatrick & Partners 2002. Pg 68.7. Ibid. Pg 101.8. Ibid. Pg As above.Ibid. Pg 69.Ibid. As above.Ibid. As above.The Challenges to Sustainable Beef Production in Botswana: Implicationson Rangeland Management. Mulale, K. 2001.A Thin Line: Botswana’s Cattle Fences, Robin Keene-Young, AfricaEnvironment and Wildlife Magazine, March/April 2003.Albertson, A. A. Personal communication to KCS, 2004.Ibid. Pg 106.Ibid. Pg 23.Ibid. Pg 30.Ibid. As above.Ibid. Pg 97.Republic of Botswana/EC Country Strategy Paper and IndicativeProgramme for the period 2002-2007. Pg 14.environmental investigation agencyEIA UK62-63 Upper StreetLondon N1 0NYUnited [email protected] 44 (0)20 7354 7960Fax 44 (0)20 7354 7961EIA USP.O. Box 53343Washington DC 20009United States of [email protected] 1 202 483 6621Fax 1 202 986

addition, the Boteti is likely to have flood events in the future, which will impact on the integrity of the fence in numerous locations. The decommissioning of the three existing sets of fences within the Makgadikgadi Pans area (Nxai Pan Buffalo Fence, Mokobaxane, BLDC ranch fencing in Odiak