There are more elephants in Botswana than anywhere else in the world: about 120,000 of them. Botswana has excellent conservation programs and the wildlife are well protected from poachers (illegal hunters).

photograph © [2007] Jupiterimages Corporation

Botswana is famous for its wildlife. Most well known African animals are found there. The Government has made thousands of square kilometres protected wildlife areas. The largest are: Chobe National Park (north). Central Kalahari Game Reserve (2nd largest in the world), Moremi Game Reserve (in Okavango Delta) and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (along the border of Botswana and South Africa).

There are 164 different kinds of
mammal in Botswana, including: Vervet monkeys, Meerkats, Chacma Baboons, Wild Dogs, Bat-eared Foxes, Black backed Jackels, several kinds of Genet and Hyena, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Burchell's Zebra, White Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Wildebeest. There are several kinds of antelope, including Kudu, Gemsbok, Eland, Sable, Roan and Waterbuck.

There are about 550 different kinds of bird in Botswana, some of them living there for part of the year as they migrate. People come from all over the world to watch birds in Botswana because there are so many but also because it is easy to see the birds owing to the flatness of the land and the vegetation. Among the birds there are Ostriches, Cormorants, Egyptian Geese, African Jacanas, Cape Vultures, African Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Masked Weavers and Hornbills.

Flamingo are often seen in Botswana. There are two kinds, the Greater and the Lesser.

Greater flamingoes have a pink bill with black tip, and Lesser flamingoes have an evenly coloured dark purplish bill, which looks black from a distance. The Lesser flamingo is smaller and pinker than the Greater flamingo. Flamingoes form large flocks of up to a thousand birds, and each makes a honking sound which, all together, makes a continuous babbling noise. They prefer shallow salty water. They stay in one place while conditions suit them, and then move on. They fly with neck and legs outstretched.

The Secretary bird is a large, long-legged grey and black bird with long, loose black feathers sticking up at the back of the head. Adults have orange faces, while young ones have yellow faces. They are usually silent, but sometimes make a frog-like croak.

Secretary birds are usually in pairs walking in grassland, savanna or Kalahari scrub. Sometimes they run a short distance with spread wings and may also fly to a great height. They roost on the top of thorn trees. Secretary birds feed on small animals, reptiles and insects, and are well known for killing snakes. They make nests on tree tops, made of a platform of sticks just below the highest branches.

The Cape vulture is an endangered species and fully protected in Botswana. It is thought that the vultures fly several hundred kilometres to scavenge food. The wingspan of the Cape vulture is about 3 metres, and they weigh about 5 kg. Vultures rely on rising hot air to help them rise and glide. They feed mainly by scavenging, which means eating animals that they have not themselves killed. They have excellent eyesight, and glide high in the sky where they can spot food. Once a kill has been spotted, a vulture drops down at great speeds to land by the carcass, and other vultures see that and follow. A large flock of vultures can strip a carcass down to the bone in half an hour.

Go here to see a photo of the Cape Vulture

There are about 157 different kinds of
reptile in Botswana, including: Nile crocodiles, Pythons, Geckos, Tortoises, Flap neck chameleon and snakes such as the Black Mamba, Green Mamba, Cape cobra, Egyptian cobra, Spitting cobra, Puff adder and Boomslang.

Click here to find out more about animals of Botswana

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Acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, Shirley & Thomas, Ron Botswana [Online] (2007)

July 2009
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