Familiar Chat March 2015 Current Issues

BirdLife Botswana had long advocated for Botswana to officially name a national bird. On May 12, 2014 that finally happened when the Kori Bustard, Ardeotis kori, was named Botswana’s National Bird. Although several other birds have been thought to be Botswana’s national bird, none of these had ever been officially named as such. The internet and various publications have listed half a dozen different birds as Botswana’s national bird, with the Lilac-breasted Roller and the Cattle Egret being the ones most often claimed to be. However, Botswana never had officially designated a national bird until May 2014. The other new national symbols named at the same time as the Kori Bustard were the Morula as the National Tree, Motshikiri(Thatching grass) as the National Grass and Sengaparile (Devil’s Claw) as the National Flower/plant. The new national tree, grass and flower/plant reflect the traditional uses of these plants for food, roofing for houses and medicine. No national mammal was named but the Zebra occurs on the Coat of Arms developed in 1966 and is without doubt considered the national animal/mammal symbol of Botswana by the government and the people.

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