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ZAWA ropes giraffe commission into Simalaha

IT WAS a bright morning as traffic started to build up at Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta’s palace in Mwandi. I had no doubt that the event was set.
Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) acting director general Kampamba Kombe and director of conservation and management James Milanzi joined other executives from Peace Parks Foundation and the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) secretariat.
Others who were at the event were representatives of different cooperating partners as well as senior government officials.
It was the commissioning and release of eight of Africa’s tallest mammal species, the Thorncroft giraffe from Namibia into Simalaha Conservancy.
Deputy Minister of Tourism and Arts Patrick Ngoma, who was guest of honour, said communities needed to live side by side with wildlife.
“Where I come from in Luangwa, we have lived alongside wild animals such as buffalo and the people are not getting used,” he said.
Mr Ngoma appreciated the role ZAWA plays in sensitising communities on how they can live and protect the animals.
“ZAWA has managed to coach the people to live side by side with [wild] animals and I know here we can do the same. If it does not work, then the government will be hesitant to support these initiatives,” he said.
The deputy minister urged residents to be disciplined if conservation was to work in the area. He was confident that the Lozi indunas were disciplined enough and could instil this quality in the people.
“I would also like to acknowledge the roles played by the KfW [German development bank], KAZA secretariat, Peace Parks Foundation and other development partners such as WWF Germany, Mava Foundation, Kadans Foundation and the Cleveland Zoological Society in providing financial and technical support to the project,” he said.
Mr Ngoma said through ZAWA, the government has pledged to provide more seed stock of wild species to be translocated into the conservancy. These species include 100 impalas, 50 red lechwes, 100 pukus and 50 waterbucks.
Earlier, Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta said the project was a welcome idea especially that it would be replacing the lost wild animals.
“Zambia had taken centre stage in the liberation struggle of her neighbours especially that there was a general feeling that there could not be real freedom unless her neighbours like Zimbabwe and Namibia were free,” he said.
The chief said in the process of helping its neighbours to gain independence, Zambia had to pay the price.
“Zambia suffered counter-attacks, game suffered because the movement [soldiers] helped themselves with game for rations and it was wiped out,” he said.
Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta said the area stretching from Chief Sikute to Mwandi where Simalaha is located, would attract visiting tourists not to just end their tours in Livingstone but get to appreciate tourism all the way up the Liuwa Plain National Park.
“This place could add to the tourism value chain, it is a unique location. KAZA cannot be anchored in the air but on the ground,” he said.
He said, therefore, that KAZA cannot be developed unless Simalaha is developed because it is located in the centre and has to be treated as an important part of the KAZA ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Mr Kombe, the ZAWA acting director general, was happy that local communities had something they could call their own.
He said ZAWA has a mandate to manage wildlife which it executes by working with other stakeholders who include the communities living in game management areas and the private sector.
When all was said and done, it was time for dance and jubilation at the cultural village where many exhibited talent through traditional performances.
Till next week, I sign out.
The author is ZAWA public relations officer
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