Caritas Zambia has expressed concerned that people given the responsibility of protecting wildlife are encouraging illegal trade through dubious deals in hunting licenses and concessions on timber.
Caritas Zambia Acting Director Eugene Kabilika has also said the development can only be curbed if the local communities begin to be part of a comprehensive programme meant to protect wildlife.
“Curbing illegal wildlife trade should not be done in isolation. It should be part of the larger programme of caring for the environment that prioritising equity for the benefit of Zambians, especially the communities living near game management areas and forests” Mr. Kabilika said.
He added that his organisation believes that the protection of wildlife should be for every Zambian.
“Zero tolerance for illegal wild life trade- Lets unite and fight cannot be a reality if our current trends of consumption and damaging of the earth continue. In fact, her ability to support life, as we know it today will collapse in the next 50 years or more. Global illegal trade on wildlife has taken a major toll on the world’s endangered species” he said.
in Zambia, the rate of poaching and cutting of trees exceeds the natural regeneration of the population of animals and trees
Mr. Kabilika in addition said that in Zambia, the rate of poaching and cutting of trees exceeds the natural regeneration of the population of animals and trees thereby pushing threatened species to extinction.
“Engaging local communities to care for wild life is recognised as a key approach to tackling the illegal wildlife trade. Before game management areas were designed, there used to be more than one million animals in the Kafue flats alone.
Bird species were so numerous and so many. But, now all these numbers have gone down. As long as communities in Zambia, especially those who live near game management areas and forests, do not see these resources as their own and devoid of their local economy, poaching and indiscriminate cutting of trees will continue. We need to design programmes that will support alternative livelihoods of communities living in these areas and also make the economic value of wildlife to be part of the community’s local economy. Then, the community themselves will become the game rangers” He advised.
In a message to mark Word Environment Day which falls on 5th June, Mr. Kabilika added that appealed for steps to protect mother earth by stopping all forms of burning, cutting of trees, poisoning nature and environment.
The Caritas Zambia Acting Director further called for a stop to fishing using mosquito nets, killing wild life and make mother Earth happy and productive again.
And on large scale agriculture and mining, Mr. Kabilika has said the practice is known to be the largest contributors to the destruction of biodiversity and eco-systems, thereby slowly creating the necessary conditions for climate change and squeezing the natural habitats of wildlife, especially animals.
“The use of pesticides and clearance of large areas of forests renders the soils bare and polluted and in the case of mining completely unusable. Although in the short term mining and large scale agriculture may present themselves as solution for increased economic growth, the cost involved to sustain such practices are high both in economic and environmental terms” He added.
He has since reiterated Pope Francis’s Pope Francis request to nourish and sustain the earth, so that it can in turn nourish and sustain humanity.
Meanwhile Caritas Zambia has said that the starting point in searching for solutions affecting planet earth today should be spiritual rather than scientific.
Making reference to Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment dubbed, “Laudato Si’ where he praises God for the gift of the earth and all its resources, Mr. Kabilika said people’s failures are associated to over-consumption and to equitably share the gifts of creation adding that the development has dire
consequences for the poor and the planet itself.
Zambia commemorated world environmental day under the theme Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade- Lets Unite and Fight while the global Theme was 7 billion dreams. One planet. Consume with Care. For the prevention of illegal trade in wildlife.