Government witness: 'Bushmen spread diseases, tourists don't'

March 1, 2006

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The Botswana government's key 'expert witness' in the Bushmen's court case, American vet Kathy Alexander, has testified that Bushmen can spread diseases to wildlife, but tourists do not.

In an extraordinary exchange with the Bushmen's lawyer Gordon Bennett, Dr Alexander maintained that the wildlife of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (the Bushmen's ancestral land) was at risk of catching diseases such as TB from the Bushmen who lived there before their eviction.

Dr Alexander alleged that it was only the Bushmen who were putting the wildlife at risk, but that the numerous tourists who pass through the reserve pose no risk at all.

When Mr Bennett suggested that there was absolutely no evidence that the Bushmen had ever transmitted TB to the wildlife in the reserve, Dr Alexander replied, 'No, but there is also no evidence they haven't.'