Every year, EWB promotes the International Global March for Elephants, Rhinos, and Lions (and all wildlife,) organizing one specifically for our community. This year it was held on Sep. 24th, which was a perfect time to show our pride and support as it was only days before Botswana’s 50th Independence! However, our parade has a slight twist to accommodate how the parade could impact our community.
The theme is focused on Botswana’s pride in the country’s successes in wildlife protection and to promote a safe environment. This year, we addressed some of the ongoing issues within our community that could be improved, such as fire safety to avoid bush fires, illegal snaring and poaching of wildlife, possible ways to alleviate conflict with wildlife and pollution.
Kasane and Chobe National Park are amazing and special. Although we are blessed to live in such a beautiful place harboring wildlife in abundance, we also know it has its challenges and issues. This event was focused as a community initiative to help foster a healthy appreciation of our environment and wildlife. We believe the more we strive to support and engage the local community to embrace a respectful co-existence with wildlife, it will result in further positive conservation efforts of the species and benefit the people within the community. This is also an opportunity to express thanks to those that continue to fight for the protection of wildlife that we, as a community, benefit from.
We had an amazing turnout of over 700 participants that gathered early morn, before the Botswana heat, to march through the streets into the main wildlife corridor, called Letswaia or “the Seep,” named for the minerals that exude from the soils which attract elephants, buffalo, all kinds of wildlife and considered an important cultural site. Participants included: students from all 14 schools in the District, representatives from the regional government offices, members of the community and Tourism/Business sect, the Dept. of Wildlife & National Parks (DWNP), Botswana Defense Force (BDF), Prison Services, Law-enforcement troops from 4 divisions, grass roots group “ikova”, Enviro911, Dept. of Forestry & Range Resources (DFFR), CITF (Construction Industry Trust Fund), and many, many others…. The law-enforcement troops kept everyone at an entertaining fast pace, as they even passed a herd of elephants!
On the Schedule, we had impactful and moving speeches, Welcoming speech given by the Chobe District Commissioner K. Leipego, Key-note address by Honorable Council Chairman Kachana, highlights of the school district’s Environmental Fair by Irene Nkwala, and addresses focused on the day’s themes: Tawana Maunganidze from DFFR addressed bush fires, Andrew Ndelema of DWNP’s anti-poaching unit addressed poaching, as well as the BDF’s Major J. Phitshane talked on wildlife protection and anti-poaching tactics, Assis Superintendent Liveson Tamotho of Prison Services touched on rehabilitation being key to combating poaching and ikova’s Kandle Wood read a moving speech on”going green”, littering and keeping the environment clean and beautiful. The Kasane plateau’s Kgosi Morake closed the event with her moving address to the community.
We were honored to host Sylvia & Bruce Medina from the USA’s Green Kids Club initiative to present her new children’s book, which addresses bush fires and poaching, to the Dept. of Forestry and Range Resources and the students of Botswana.
A special highlight was an impressive performance from Chobe Arts drama group, who created a special play that addressed cultural differences about wildlife co-existence and the views of a changing generation embracing the idea.
And, Bana ba di tlou (children of the elephants) marimba band always provides an uplifting, fun mood to the crowd!
It was a spectacular, fun event that we hope has lasting impression and we’re looking forward to the next parade!
We want to send Trunk’s Up Thank yous to the wonderful “Master of Ceremonies” Plato Goathoutsme, DJ Pat who provided the sound system, volunteers (Eleanor, Allison, Linda) and photographer Lyn Francey who relentlessly ran around the crowd and parade to provide us with all the wonderful photos and of course, the generous donors who supplied refreshments and fantastic prizes for the community raffle! (Game drives and Boat cruises in Chobe National Park and fine dining experiences!)
Chobe Marina Lodge http://www.chobe-marina-lodge.com/
Chobe Game Lodge http://www.chobegamelodge.co.bw/
Kalahari Tours http://www.kalaharichobe.com/
Kubu Lodge http://kubulodge.net/
Thebe River Safairs http://theberiversafaris.com/
The Garden Lodge http://thegardenlodge.com/
Flame of Africa http://www.flameofafrica.com/
Chobe Safari & Bush Lodges http://chobenationalpark.co.za/accommodation/chobe-bush-lodge/
Coffee Buzz & Buzzazi Trading https://www.facebook.com/Coffee-Buzz-153686388030519/?fref=ts
Ngoma Safari Lodge https://www.facebook.com/ngomasafarilodge/?fref=ts
The Old House http://www.oldhousekasane.com/pages/restaurant-and-bar/
Elephant Valley Lodge http://www.evlodge.com/
Pangolin Photographic Safaris http://www.pangolinphoto.com/#
Africa Under Canvas http://www.africaundercanvas.net/voyage-botswana/
Ron’s Fresh Produce http://www.localbotswana.com/company/2545/Rons_Fresh_Produce
Steffanuti Stocks, Botswana