Inappropriate Use of Agrochemicals Poses Potential Threats to Botswana Vultures: A Call for Research and Legal Instruments

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Lucas Rutina
Maduo Dikobe
Jeremy S Perkins


Agrochemicals are widely used across the world to serve different purposes. However, inappropriate use of agrochemicals affects wildlife particularly non-target species such as vultures.  In this paper, we discuss the potential threats posed by inappropriate use of agrochemicals to vultures in Botswana.  We discuss the ecosystem services provided by vultures, recent incidents of potential vulture poising in Botswana, why vultures are vulnerable to agrochemical poisoning and status of the use of chemicals in Botswana. We show that incidents of vulture mortalities possible due to deliberate and accidental poisoning of livestock and wildlife carcasses by farmers and poachers, respectively, are increasing since 2009 in Botswana.  In Botswana, the distribution of agrochemicals is not well regulated although the Agrochemicals Act of 1999 and subsidiary 2003 legislation are in place to assist in this endeavour. In addition, factors contributing to vulture declines are not well documented and researched.  The lack of information on factors contributing to vulture poisoning calls for collaborate multidisciplinary research to assess vulture population dynamics and the drivers of their population change, including poisoning to inform policies on use of agrochemicals in Botswana.

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