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German envoy meets ZAWA bosses

IT’S WILD with SAKABILO KALEMBWE
OUR environmental challenges are many, and with the advent of climate change, there is need for different stakeholders to join hands and see how best they can be mitigated.
And so is the need for wildlife and conservation challenges to be dealt with, if we are to attain sustainable tourism development in Zambia.
And with climate change, comes degradation in ecosystems leading to habitat loss, thus affecting biodiversity.
Last week, German ambassador to Zambia Bernd Finke met with Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) acting director general Kampamba Kombe and director for conservation and management James Milanzi.
The trio exchanged views on current challenges to wildlife protection in Zambia and on ways to further promote tourism in the country.
They also discussed matters relating to the recommencement of hunting in Zambia, the fight against poaching, and the involvement of local rural communities in the development of sustainable tourist structures.
Mr Finke also seized the opportunity to communicate to ZAWA the ongoing Germany-Zambia co-operation projects in the field of wildlife protection.
Among the projects is the long-standing commitment of the Frankfurt Zoological Society to reintroduce black rhinos to North Luangwa and to support training and equipment of the ZAWA law enforcement units.
Another important project encompasses Germany’s support of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Trans-frontier Conservation Area, which comprises three national parks and the surrounding game management areas.
This also includes national parks in Botswana, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, making it one of the largest conservation areas in the world focusing on the protection of the biodiversity in the Southern African region.
An additional project gets Malawi and Zambia joining hands in establishing two other areas, namely the Nyika and Kasungu-Lukusuzi Trans-frontier Conservation Areas.
After the meeting, Mr Finke said Germany is ready to continue and even enhance its support to biodiversity and wildlife protection projects in Zambia.
“Zambia is blessed with beautiful national parks and a pristine wildlife population. We must find ways to better exploit Zambia’s huge potential as a tourist destination,” he said.
Mr Finke said what is needed is a coherent strategy to make wildlife protection and safari tourism a win-win scenario for all stakeholders.
“Local communities must see the benefits more from tourism and wildlife protection,” he said.
And commenting on reports on a sharp increase of poaching activities in Zambia, Mr Finke said there is a simple equation:
“No wildlife. No safari tourism. And without safari tourism, no income generation for the local communities, and no progress in the fight against poverty, particularly in the wildlife areas.
“That means the fight against poaching must be a top priority both from a natural heritage protection and a tourist perspective. I see a need to further enhance ZAWA capabilities and law enforcement activities in the fight against the wave of wildlife poaching in Zambia.”
Mr Finke also appreciated the co-operation between the Frankfurt Zoological communities and the North Luangwa ZAWA management and scouts, and for the very high level of commitment and dedication shown by all stakeholders on the ground.
“The ZAWA and Frankfurt Zoological Society partnership has been in place for 29 years and highlights how good co-operation can work and what results can be produced,” Mr Finke said.
He said Germany looks forward to strengthen its cooperation with ZAWA and the Ministry of Tourism and Arts when it comes to supporting conservation projects aimed at preserving Zambia’s pristine animal population and fostering sustainable tourism projects.
Such projects, Mr Finke said, can help the poor local communities benefit more from Zambia’s vast potential as a tourist destination.
And Mr Kombe, the ZAWA acting director general, thanked Mr Finke for the support his institution has been receiving through the Frankfurt Zoological Society.
The black rhino project has become a national symbol for wildlife protection in Zambia.
Till next week, it’s bye!
Write to: kzax2000@yahoo.co.uk

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