Wildlife News for Kalahari Kids
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:56
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SAVE researcher visits the children’s village

500 people live in the Moreomaoto Village, located in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and there are countless children among them. People still live primarily in traditional thatched rondavels, and a few in mud houses. There are few job opportunities in the area, and many people suffer from the lack of proper medical care. Many of these children living here have no access to basic education at schools or environmental education.

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So, it was a great event for the 25 children and sick adults as the SAVE wildlife researcher Botilo Tshimologo visited their village in February for the second time.

The children were amazed at what Botilo told them about his exciting research on African wild dogs. The children knew about the animals mainly from adults talking about them. They described wild dogs as “pests”, because of their attacks on livestock, and as enemies to be shot or poisoned.

Thus, the object of this visit was primarily to educate the local population as well as to teach sympathy for the animals. With the African wild dog being a critically endangered species it is a very important time to help educate people on their importance. There are only 3,500 wild dog’s left alive on Earth, and many of them live exactly where these children live: in the Botswana’s Kalahari.

 
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Botilo showed videos that were filmed during his work in field research in the Okavango Delta and tried to pass on his passion for these animals to the children and the adults. They peppered him with questions, wanting to know more about the fascinating predator and intensely social pack hunter.

Before leaving the village Botilo promised the people that he would come back and bring researcher Christina Kesch with him, who would tell them about their lion-fence-research project.

Moreover, an excursion into the National Park is also being planned in order to give the children the possibility to experience wildlife in their natural habitat. As a sort of preparation for this day a huge pile of books titled, “Wildlife at my home” is already on its way to Botswana. These books will help to explain in more detail the wild animals of their African homeland to the children.

These are important building blocks in our mission in order to familiarize the children living in the Kalahari Desert with the wilderness of their homeland. This wilderness, which they have often seen as threatening, could also be seen as a source of great opportunities for the next generation.