The Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Kaputa district in Luapula province has bemoaned increased encroachment inside Mweru Wantipa National Parks.
Area Warden for Nsumba Management Unit, Andrew Mukupa said the national park has been encroached for farming activities, human settlement, poaching of wildlife, and fishing.
Mr. Mukupa who held a consultative meeting with Sub Chief Mangolwa at her palace in Kaputa has since appealed to traditional leaders to work with the department to curb encroachment.
He stated that his department wants to involve traditional leadership who are custodians of the people to help curb the vice which is also depleting natural resources.
He explained that fighting encroachment in national parks will help preserve wildlife and this will also benefit the locals.
He said wildlife attracts tourists which also has trickle down effects on the people.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mukupa and representatives from the sub chief have agreed to stop any further encroachment of the park in Kawama area where people do their fishing on Lake Mweru Wantipa.
The Warden said people have settled in Kawama which is in the National Park since the 90s but that no one should go further than that point.
He has also asked the people who have cultivated in the park not to go back and cultivate after they harvest this year.
He said he will arrest any person who would be found farming or making an advance settlement inside the park.
Meanwhile, Headman Mangolwa who spoke on behalf of the Sub Chief said
people settled in the area since the 80s because they were told to do
so by former national park officials.
The headman who accepted that people have encroached in the park said
they did so because they did not know.
He has ,however, thanked the department of national park for holding a
consultative meeting with them.
Headman Mangolwa has since pledged to talk to the people and warn them
not to further encroach in the park.