TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu has expressed concern about the high levels of poaching and has directed all security agencies in Zambia to participate in anti-poaching exercises to stop wildlife crimes.
The head of State said there is need to protect animals as they contribute effectively to the growth of the countryâ€™s tourism sector.
Mr Lungu said this in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by Department of National Parks and Wildlife public relations officer Sakabilo Kalembwe.
The President said this in his message to Zambians during the commemoration of the World Wildlife Day dubbed â€œThe future of wildlife in our hands.â€
â€œThose that may be planning to venture into poaching or planning to illegally settle in any of our protected areas should refrain as my ministry through the newly-created Department of National Parks and Wildlife and with stakeholders, will deal with them sternly,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said the head of State is happy that tourism contributes seven percent of Government revenue or 6.5 percent of the gross domestic product to the economy.
He said Government is also pleased that the annual revenue of about K7 million to K12 million is raised from animal fees from trophy hunting of elephant alone and that wildlife-based tourism creates about 10 percent of jobs in Zambia, mostly for the remotely located rural communities who depend on the wildlife industry for employment.
Mr Lungu also called for the full protection of elephants because they are a great economic and ecological value to the country.
â€œGovernment is also alive to the negative impact that comes with living with elephants. Every year, elephants cause damage to crops and sometimes take human life which is unfortunate and should be prevented at all cost.
â€œHowever, we should keep on looking for solutions to mitigate human-elephant conflicts because both man and elephant need each other. Elephants need our good efforts to survive, and we also need its continued presence to develop our tourism industry and contribute to our own social-economic wellbeing,â€ President Lungu said.
He said he is happy that elephants have continued to play a key role in the ecology and economy of the country.
TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka