Last year you informed your readers about the wildlife capture going on in South Luangwa National Park, Eastern Province.
A week ago the local community was made aware that this is starting again. And again all the stakeholders around and in the park were told it was for restocking other National Parks.
Last year Hon. Makebi Zulu and the Ministry of Tourism made the same claims, even though it came out that the animals were supposed to go to a private game ranch, Mbizi Game Reserve.
Yesterday, we received pictures from the trucks being on the way to South Luangwa. These pictures contain a sticker saying:
Wildlife Conservation Services
Witpens Game Ranch
The Zambian phone number on the sticker is registered for Dries Scholtz. Dries Scholtz is connected to Mbizi Game Reserve. The company Wildlife Conservation Services doesn’t exist, neither in Zambia or South Africa. Neither are they certified or qualified to perform any translocation of animals.
So again, the PF government is trying to sell animals to private game reserves in Zambia, while there are enough breeders in Zambia where Mbizi can buy animals from.
Last year October, minister Ronald Chitotela stated that the translocation of animals will help boost the tourism sector, which has been affected by COVID-19. (Lusaka Times May 21).
So how is less animals in South Luangwa National Park going to help tourism? Not many tourists will be happy to spend their time in an empty park.
Not many tourists book their holidays at Private Reserves specialized in hunting, since most tourists oppose hunting.
Secondly, this will affect communities around the National Park. Less animals, means less tourists and in times like these, with COVID-19, this is the complete opposite of what the government should do. This is no boost for tourism, but more damage to tourism.
Where is the money for this sale going to? Are the local communities going to benefit from this?
The damage this will do to the ecosystem, the National Park and tourism is irreversible. While the PF-governement is promising more jobs and more money, they don’t seem to care about how many jobs and therefore income will be lost if these translocations keep going on.
Tourism in Zambia is based on good wildlife viewing, we won’t have any of that if our animals are being sold to Private Reserves.
A very worried conservationist