Botswana on Sunday launched an elephant express bus to transport the community and school-aged children in its elephant-rich northwest area.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi stated during the bus handover ceremony in Seronga village that the government is committed to protecting the safety of its people, particularly children, who are at risk due to wildlife movement in the area.
“The introduction of the buses is a welcome development that ensures the safety of the pupils and improves access to education, which is crucial for the country’s development,” Masisi said.
This bus is the third in the area, following two minibuses that have been operating for the past two years. The private sector is leading the initiative in partnership with the local community and civic society. The president congratulated and thanked sponsors of the bus, noting that the government cannot do it alone.
Seronga village, located in Botswana’s northwest area, about 1,232 km from Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, is highly populated with wildlife.
Botswana now has about 131,909 elephants, accounting for 58 percent of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), one of the world’s leading nature and landscape conservation areas, covering the international boundaries of five Southern African countries including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
Even though wildlife is important to Botswana’s economic tourism sector, elephants in the Okavango region represent a threat to both human lives and livelihoods.
Masisi stressed that the government has put policies in place to reduce the human-wildlife conflict issue, including Wildlife Department patrols and barrier fencing to prevent wildlife movement in affected regions, disclosing that Botswana will provide Angola with 8,000 elephants to alleviate the pressure on Botswana.