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tv   Botswana  BBC News  March 2, 2019 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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hello and welcome to bbc news. the family of a us student who died after he was jailed in north korea president trump has rejected claims that he failed to hold north korea's have criticised president trump for praising kim jong—un. leader kim jong—un to account for otto warmbier‘s parents said "no the death of an american student. excuse: can change that "kim and his evil regime" 0tto warmbier was sentenced killed their son. by a north korean court to 15 years their comments came after mr trump heaped compliments in 2016 after being accused on the north korean leader. of stealing a poster. he was in a coma when he was released 17 months later, and died soon after returning canada has cleared the way to the united states. for the us to start extradition his family rebuked president trump proceedings against huawei's for praising kim jong—un chief financial officer, and accepting his claim prompting an angry response from beijing. meng wanzhou was detained in vancouver last year at washington's request. she firmly denies allegations that he did not know of bank fraud and helping her company break us sanctions. pakistan has freed an indian fighter pilot captured after his jet was shot down in the disputed region of kashmir. wing commander abhinandan varthaman was handed over at a border crossing in punjab. pakistan's prime minister had called the move a gesture of peace.
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now on bbc news, trouble in the elephant sanctuary. alastair leithead presents a special programme on how poaching has provoked a political row over whether botswana has too many elephants. botswa na botswana is africa's last great elephant sanctuary. a third of the continent's numbers live here. latest estimates say there are at least 130,000 of them. but they are notoriously difficult to count. for decades, these giants have been safely travelling their ancestral migration routes, while their cousins in other countries have in hit hard by poaching. but now even botswa na's elephants are hit hard by poaching. but now even botswana's elephants are under threat. from an infant mortality respectively found that the numbers
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of fresh or recent infant carcasses had increased by nearly 600%. there is new evidence of well—organised poaching. but in aid to political climate there is a question over whether there is more emphasis on shooting the messenger then accept him that there is a problem. —— a bitter. to deny that 87 elephants we re bitter. to deny that 87 elephants were never killed in a wildlife sanctuary, because we went there and we couldn't find 87 carcasses. but there is evidence there to see. well, the response from various people was to try and deny or whitewash. they labelled me a traitor and a liar. without having actually verified the evidence that we bore witness to. i think the government has been hiding it for a while, and now that it has been brought out in the open they are now
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realising how serious the problem is. but toxic politics ahead of an election, luxury tour operators with a reputation to uphold, and increasing human wildlife conflict is staring up trouble in one of the elephants' last is staring up trouble in one of the elepha nts' last sanctuaries. botswa na botswana has grown rich on diamonds, and is known as one of the most sta ble and is known as one of the most stable and least corrupt places in sub—saharan africa. tourism is its second—biggest earner, and the cornerstone of that is its wildlife and its wilderness. the kalahari desert inhabits most of the country the size of portugal and spain, but with less than two and a half
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billion people, and the beautiful inland kallangur delta flows into its north—west corner. —— 0kavango delta. elephants once roamed through its international borders, through angola, namibia, zambia and zimbabwe, the tape spike in poaching there has led them to seek sanctuary where they feel safe, in northern botswa na. where they feel safe, in northern botswana. for 50 years, a small organisation called cap elephants without 0rders has been watching its wildlife. they have flown three aerial surveys, counting everything. buffalo and antelopes, hippos and elephants. flying back and forth, photographing and recording. mike chase was the scientist for the first of a great elephant census, which surveyed 18 african countries. —— first ever. in 2016 he warned that a third of africa's elephants had been wiped out injust that a third of africa's elephants had been wiped out in just seven yea rs.
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had been wiped out in just seven years. aerial surveys are incredibly valuable. they provide us with an opportunity to better understand the status of an elephant population. are their numbers declining, stable 01’ are their numbers declining, stable or increasing? i can think of no other method available to a scientist that rather provides us with information on the comp sedation status of elephants. —— better provides us with information on the conservation status of elephants. here in botswana, things have been going well, perhaps too well. the country's world—famous comp —— conservation credentials, a determined political will and a reputation for being tough on poachers has created this last great sanctuary. there has been poaching here for a few years now, but when mike chase took to the skies last yearfor his mike chase took to the skies last year for his latest four yearly survey, he saw something that shocked him.
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northern botswana is a vast expanse of wilderness, with few roads, it is only from the air that you get to see the true extent of the wildlife. there is a big wall. jeez. see the true extent of the wildlife. there is a big wall. jeez. when the aerial survey was done in this area, they identified a large number of elephant carcasses with evidence of poaching. we have come out here in the helicon to verify those results. —— helicopter. the helicon to verify those results. -- helicopter. the area we are going to first is the location where we saw fresh or recent elephant carcasses during july and october last year. it is a hotspot in which there are 88 poached elephants, based upon a grand assessment that
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we did. that is elephants that he says died less than a year ago. on the right. following his co—ordinates, we soon began to discover them. there it is. so, this was government verified. you can see the big x red spray paint on the carcass. it is one of the few carcasses we saw verified in this way by the government. how many are there in this area? within this area now, 33. ok? 33 at the same time? yes, 33 at the same time. that is a huge number. it is. and then, over a year, 88 within a similar area. but he says the authorities didn't believe him, and letters to ministers and the president went unanswered. certainly went to the media, with initial reports of 87 carcasses . media, with initial reports of 87 carcasses. the story went viral.
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then came the official response. then came the reaction. 0ne then came the reaction. one issue was timing. botswana's new president was timing. botswana's new president was clashing with his predecessor, ian,, especially over was clashing with his predecessor, ian, , especially over approaches was clashing with his predecessor, ian,, especially over approaches to conservation. mike chase is close to the former president, so announcing a poaching crisis a few months into masisi's term in office was seen by some people as a political attack on the new president and sparked a storm of controversy. 0fficials admitted they spent only two days with mike chase, trying to verify findings that took two months to gather. then it got nasty. the president went on the offensive, saying it was the biggest hoax the zist saying it was the biggest hoax the 21st century have seen. saying it was the biggest hoax the 21st century have seenlj saying it was the biggest hoax the 21st century have seen. i do not agree that has been a spike in poaching in botswana. but we were
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given government permission to visit one of four hotspots he identified. it suggested organised and co—ordinated poaching. it suggested organised and co-ordinated poaching. soon you will notice for yourself that a pattern emerges, that most of the elephants we re emerges, that most of the elephants were poached in seasonal waterholes. so the poachers would just wait for the elephants to come down and drink, and shoot them. yeah, here it is, here. on the nose, here. the last time you were here was when? i was here in september, four months ago. and at that time, this
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carcass was fresh. days old. you can smell it. you can still smell it. but at the time it was putrid, it was maggot infested, it had droppings on it from the vultures. it was wet. and still now, you can see the flesh on the bones. clear evidence of poaching, half of its cranium has been chopped by a very sharp axle machete. you will also notice that the tale has probably been cut, for the tail hairs. and then all around them, the periphery of the carcass, all these bushes, which at the time were chopped and cut to conceal the carcass, because it is very open here. in order to avoid detection. so rather than using another bullet, and avoiding shops detection, they would have severed his spinal cord, rendering him paralysed, and defenceless, while the chopped his tusks out. so it would have been alive? yes, that would have been the only reason to
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chop the spinal cord, because he was wounded, he was alive. mike chase scientifically recorded all the carcasses at the time. his final report, with estimates of how recently they were killed, has been peer reviewed by nine international elephant experts, who support his belief that this shows a new poaching spike. on the 2014 aerial survey, poaching spike. on the 2014 aerial survey, none poaching spike. on the 2014 aerial survey, none of the dead elephants that we saw we attributed to having been poached. and how many have you found this time? on this aerial survey, found this time? on this aerial survey, we found this time? on this aerial survey, we suspect that 128 elephants were poached. that is more than initially reported, and from the data, mike chase estimates 800 elephants died recently. six times more than four years ago. he concludes a significant poaching outbreak is ongoing. but in a population of 130,000 it is a drop in the ocean, and doesn't yet pose a threat to the overall elephant
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population. at what point do we say we have a problem? ten? 50? 100, we have a problem? ten? 50?100, 150? 1000? we have a problem? ten? 50?100, 15071000? you we have a problem? ten? 50?100, 150? 1000? you know, we can't... lessons have taught us, when we look at tanzania, which lost 60% of its elephant population in five years, thatis elephant population in five years, that is how quickly poaching can settle into a population. we can either go to 22 or 19. let's do 19, then 22. following the court must, we continued to verify more carcasses , we continued to verify more carcasses, to find new ones over two days. well, there's two we have found just here. a huge concentration of carcasses we have seen concentration of carcasses we have seen just concentration of carcasses we have seenjust in this concentration of carcasses we have seen just in this small area. a real hotspot. and from the air, you can see where they have in poached, where their faces have been cut off. this is where mike chase saw the carcasses he sat —— equals fresh, less tha n carcasses he sat —— equals fresh, less than a month old. these are recent, a month to a year old, and these, old, up to two years. this is
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where we flew to verify some of his results. of those verified on the ground, he says all were poached. but there is resistance to his findings. his licence to work has been suspended. the government questions his methodology and wants the raw data to verify the results again. the inference that we grew from that report was that these elephants were massacred in a day or two. we are not denying that elephants are being killed in botswa na. elephants are being killed in botswana. but we are denying that 87 elephants were never killed next to a wildlife sanctuary in northern botswa na, a wildlife sanctuary in northern botswana, because we went there and we couldn't find 87 carcasses. you have seen an increase in poaching in botswa na. have seen an increase in poaching in botswana. we are seeing a number of poaching incidents that are quite disturbing. how bad has it become? well, it is of concern. it is of concern because we don't want to
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lose any species to poachers. any illegal uptake, respective of the quantity, is of concern to us. —— irrespective. and poaching, you know, when somebody crosses into your country at an undetected crossing point armed with whatever weapon they may have, whether it is a weapon for hunting, it is not licensed to operate in botswana, it challenges our national security. it is of concern to us. the ops one defence force takes the lead on anti— poaching. —— in botswana. the country has had a fierce reputation for dealing with poachers, but denies having a shoot to kill policy. they believe criminal syndicates cross over the long and open border, use local trackers to find elephants to kill, and then ta ke find elephants to kill, and then take the ivory back over the border to be trafficked to asia. it is a toughjob, policing to be trafficked to asia. it is a tough job, policing a vast wilderness. poaching was always
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going to come here to botswana, where one third of africa's elephants live. but the controversy surrounding this recent findings of carcasses has sparked a much wider national debate. there are questions over whether enough of the money being brought in by luxury safaris is going back to communities. how do people who live next door to this dangerous elephants can be persuaded that they are worth protecting. and also, whether or not hunting should be reintroduced. this is one of our most luxurious products... kim nixon is managing director at wilderness safaris. a place renowned for printable wildlife and gain sightings. in the high season, these rooms go to $7,000 per couple per night. bono and sir richard branson stay here, and are investors in wilderness safaris. prince harry is among the many favourite —— famous guests. but one of the elephant carcass hotspots is in an area owned by wilderness. they have also recently lost rare rhinos
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do you have poaching problem?” think that poaching is an issue, it is an issue that certainly has existed as long as we have been in botswa na. existed as long as we have been in botswana. it is difficult to say as a private sector company how big the poaching problem actually is because we are not privy to all the data, but our obligation is to put that information the government, who then act accordingly upon it. the shocking images of dead rhinos are not what high—end tourists want to see on safari, 13 have been killed in the year. talking to a lot of people here, we get a sense that there is a growing poaching problem going on here, what is your response to that? i do not think there is any denial whatsoever. we never poaching has occurred in any of our concession areas, each and every incident has been reported as a criminal case. off the record, some commercial owners admit there is a
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commercial owners admit there is a commercial problem. one company owner in the t d told us publicly what many people say privately. owner in the t d told us publicly what many people say privatelym is now being brought out into the open, we now realise how serious the problem is that these big poachers have actually penetrated further than we expected them to be. —— 0kavango delta. i think the government and most of us are concerned that it will affect the business is that we operate, a lot of tourists come to the was because of tourists come to the was because of the antipoaching and what the government does with its wildlife, so government does with its wildlife, so if, i think we have to have everybody understand that this problem can only be solved if we all come into it together and work on it.
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living next door to herd of elephants is not easy. this is the damage they often do, the custodians of the wildlife other local communities. they can detect the animals if they benefit eventually, or they can help the poachers. —— protect. this family are planting maize and it isa this family are planting maize and it is a big risk, renting the plough and paying for seed. many villages he had given up on growing crops because of the elephants, they can eat a whole harvest in a day. translation: —— they lost their crop to the elephants, she explains, and some of their livestock to the lions. but there is no sign of the compensation payments they should have received. ‘si payments they should have received. ‘s i asked, are elephants a national treasure? —— so. it is not a
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treasure? —— so. it is not a treasure to be kept, certainly not an eu, he said. they had to be far away from where we live. —— in eu. it isa away from where we live. —— in eu. it is a big problem, a popular view in many communities is the number of elephants is increasing, aerial surveys suggest that is not true, that the population is static elephants are expanding their range, how far they want. this leads to more conflict with humans. —— near you. in the past for years, we lost people here who were killed by the elephants, but now they are just killing the domestic animals. i think governments can just introduce hunting of the elephants can, killing them so that maybe they will be reduced. so the elephants's last great century as the victim of its own
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success. foreigners come and they are fortune to see them, communities are fortune to see them, communities are calling for them to be killed but hunting can be used for conservation. it shows us this elephant is about ten to 15 years. is quite a young elephant? yes. curious is a tracker, used to work for a professional hunter that has been unemployed since the government banned hunting 2013.” been unemployed since the government banned hunting 2013. i do not have nothing to put on the table for my family, for my children, everybody. even the commuting hours suffering because innismore village, most of the people of all, so they do not have the chance of going to work somewhere else, theyjust based in the village and now they are suffering because there is no hunting. unemployed trackers can be recruited by poachers. hunting was
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banned by the former president, the new president has launched a public consultation and appears to be in favour of lifting the hunting ban and supporting the regulated ivory trade. with elections coming and with rural communities in favour of hunting, it becomes a trade—off between votes in botswana's international reputation. the shooters we stopped the hunting, brand botswana grew around the world in botswana became the most sought—after tourist destination in africa. —— as soon as. it tourist arrivals, the revenues paid, they all shot through the roof. they potentially could be a place for hunting, my worry is that it is going to knock the big teacher, have an impact onjobs, occupancies, government revenues, et cetera. many areas just government revenues, et cetera. many areasjust do government revenues, et cetera. many areas just do not suit either graphic safaris, they are remote, dense bush, a few boats and spares wildlife and with the loss of hunting, i abandoned. hunting is an
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appropriate land—use and it does have conservation value, especially for communities that live in wildlife areas and again, they need the benefits, so that is their business, that is their life. they have been brought up in those areas and they know it and if they do not have any legal employments, they will turn to more illegal resources and hence the poaching. there is trouble, but there is also hoping the elephants century. botswana has become a safe haven as neighbouring countries have been devastated by poaching, but too many elephants is also a problem. hunting will not reduce the numbers and a cold provoked an outcry. there will be no solution if we do not involve the communities. some people are saying that we should look for other countries that are looking for the elephant species and then transfer some of our elephant population to
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those countries. first off, we need to stop pointing fingers. don't shoot the messenger. i think it requires all stakeholders working together, government, private, public sectors, the ngos. across africa, these beautiful beasts under threat. botswana is still the safest place in the world to be a rhino horn elephants, but with a high demand for ivory in asia, this century is now firmly in the poachers's sites. —— wore an elephant. —— or an elephant. hello. the record warmth of the past week has gone but it still will not be cold for the time of year this weekend, but it will be wet at times and it will be very windy at times too, even stormy in places. one area of low pressure passes close by on
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saturday. another rapidly deepening area of low pressure will come in on sunday. so spells of wind and rain, but it's this second system on sunday, named storm freya to raise awareness of potential impacts, it is going to pack the biggest punch, if you like, and we will get to that in a moment. still damp across eastern parts of the uk, overnight rain clearing away, plenty of mist and fog, beyond patch to the north—west initially. remember that first area of low pressure, here comes the rain forming quite quickly into northern ireland, western scotland, parts of wales, and all of that will push further east as we go through the evening. if you are not wet by day, you will eventually see some rain out of it. the wind strength, these are average speeds. gusts will be stronger for northern ireland and western and northern scotland, could see some gusts in excess of 60 miles an hour here.
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going into saturday night, the western isles could well see some gusts up to around 70 miles an hour, plenty of heavy showers rattling through north—west scotland, snow through the high hills, maybe some rumbles of thunder. whilst many other places will turn drier, the rain never really clears from southernmost counties of england, and this is as storm freya comes in on sunday, initially with some wet weather pushing northwards, though there is some uncertainty far north that will get. it may not be too much rain in northern scotland, there will be a few showers around, but all the while the winds are going to be strengthening as well. that is the second part of storm freya, first the wind, then the rain. the deepening area of low pressure takes a track across the uk, with the strongest winds on the southern flank and that brings them really across parts of england and wales, where the met office has this yellow warning area. it will be turning windier particularly towards the end of sunday into sunday night,
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initially around some irish sea coasts, the coast of south—west england, 70 mile an hour gusts, maybe up to 80 in a few spots, and elsewhere through that warning zone, some gusts 50 to 60 miles an hour as storm freya moves east. still some uncertainty about the detail here, so keep watching if you have plans on sunday. it all starts to push away on monday, just a few showers and lighter winds.
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