Wildlife Health, Ecosystems, and
Rural Livelihoods in Botswana
Michael D. Kock
Gary R. Mullins
Jeremy S. Perkins
Botswana has a wealth of biogeographical habitats, ranging from swamps to sand dunes, allowing for great diversity in its native animal population. The economic importance of livestock, both to rural livelihoods and to foreign exchange earnings, has precipitated the implementation of strict veterinary disease control measures. Vaccination, movement control, test and slaughter, blanket slaughter, and aerial spraying are methods of animal disease control that have been utilized over the past 40 years. In this chapter we examine the measures used to control foot-and-mouth disease, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, and trypanosomiasis and the impact these measures have had on disease incidence, wildlife, ecosystems, and human health. We also suggest alternative strategies for future development of the wildlife and livestock sectors.
Botswana's semi-arid climate, periodic droughts, poor soils, and lack of reliable water supplies severely limit its agricultural and other economic opportunities. In the 1960s, due to the discovery of large diamond reserves in the Kalahari (Morna 1979) and preferential trade policies with the European Union, the economic outlook of the country improved drastically. The human population is expected to reach 1.7 million by year 2001, with 80% of all Botswanans living in the eastern third of the country (Roodt 1998). However, the current population growth rate of over 3% may be reduced in the future due to one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. Biogeographically, Botswana may be divided into two broad regions corresponding to the Zambezian and Kalahari-Highveld zones.