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Lusaka National Park opens with a bang

IT’S WILD with SAKABILO KALEMBWE
EVERY success is never a gift but a challenge. To get to where one needs to be, they pass through some thickness and the thinness of distress.
And President Edgar Lungu on Wednesday June 3, 2015 officially opened the much-awaited Lusaka National Park to the public.
The Lusaka multi-facility economic zone – MFEZ came alive as numbers launched their way through to join the pomp and splendour that characterised the opening of the newest national park in Lusaka and Zambia.
By 08:00 hours many delegates and diplomats were seated waiting for President Lungu, who arrived around 09:00 hours.
President Lungu appreciated that a wildlife park in Lusaka was a milestone in the development of not only the city’s recreation facilities but the physical environment and tourism in Zambia as well.
“A growing city like Lusaka without doubt requires recreational facilities. As urbanisation grows, the desire by people to be closer to nature also grows,” he said.
President Lungu stated that the national park will also turn the city of Lusaka and surrounding areas into a green hub of conservation activities and scientific research in wildlife.
“Lusaka National Park will also be a source of heritage tourism with its collection of several species of wildlife, our natural heritage. It’s a window of the vast estate of Zambian wildlife spread in our national parks and game management areas covering over 30 percent of our national territory.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) mounted a quarter guard and demonstrated some drill skills to showcase the prowess of its officers and their readiness to protect Zambia’s wildlife estate.
Earlier, ZAWA acting director general Andrew Kombe said the idea of establishing a national park in the area was conceived with the Department of Forestry.
The park used to be a forest reserve closer to the greater city of Lusaka and will therefore secure and protect the area through value added tourism.
“The forest reserve was approximately 70 square kilometres in extent. The forest reserve was initially created as a water catchment area for the Chalimbana River system,” he said.
Mr Kombe said the reserve was under severe pressure from human encroachment and illegal activities such as sand mining and quarrying, charcoal-making and subsistence farming.
“Therefore, the joint decision was arrived at in order to save the forest reserve from these illegal activities that could have destroyed it and disturb ecological function of the water catchment area,” he said.
Then there was a visit to the Conservation Heroes Monument located adjacent to the main gate. President Lungu unveiled the monument laid wreaths in memory of the gallant heroes who had died in the course of duty.
The President then proceeded to the rhinos’ pen and the beast were excited by the visit. The male rhino, Thabo, aged eight could be seen wallowing in the little water provided in the boma. Christine also continued roaming the enclosure.
President Lungu, who was accompanied by former President Rupiah Banda then proceeded to the camp site where he had a chat with the ZAWA acting director general, Minister of Tourism, and Arts Jean Kapata and Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Christabel Ngimbu.
Then the President left for State House.
The aftermath was a buffet and game meat, including assorted impala meat fresh from the park. But some of us missed out like you because we had to rush to tell the story.
Till next week. Bye!
Write to: Kalembwe.sakabilo@zawa.org.zm
Kzax2000@yahoo.co.uk
sakabilokalembwe@gmail.com

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