Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says there are more civilized ways for sustainable management wildlife than culling. Mr. Sinkamba said culling of wildlife is not an option but a primitive conservation strategy.
Reacting to the disclosure that the Zambian authorities plan to proceed with the aborted 2016 programme intended to cull up to 2,000 hippos in the Luangwa Valley, allegedly for overpopulation, the Green Party leader said Zambia needs to learn from other countries such as Kenya and Tanzania what to do to wildlife when confronted with overpopulation and drought conditions.
“Culling of wildlife is not an option. It is a primitive wildlife conservation strategy. There are more sustainable measures out there. Relocation of entrapped animals is one such modern conservation tool. The trouble with our colleagues in the PF Government is that leadership with environmental consciousness is lacking though, unfortunately, they wear green colours.
“What is more appalling is that the Luangwa Valley is not overpopulated as they claim. The hippo population in that conservation area has dwindled by about 14-20% in the last 20 years motivated largely by several factors mainly poor conservation policies, strategies and allocation of financial and human resources.
“In any case, Luangwa Valley is not the only Game Park in Zambia. We have about 20 National Game Parks and over 30 game reserves. In fact, most, if not all the parks require restocking. A serious environmentally-conscious government would have opted for relocation than culling. We must take a leaf from the Republics of Kenya and Tanzania that relocate their animals when conditions dictate,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
Mr. Sinkamba said Kenya and Tanzania, do, year-in-year out, relocate wildlife from drought stricken areas to other conservation areas across the country.
“Mind you, hippos are not exclusively for Luangwa. They can live anywhere in the country. So, they can easily be relocated to other parts of the country. If Government says it has no resources do so, we can move in and help marshal the resources. We have done it before for the Copperbelt Environment Project and Zambia Environmental Restoration Project. We cannot fail to do so to save the hippos,” Mr. Sinkamba added.
“This government needs to read the ball game. Mining has run its race. It is proving to be unsustainable and no longer as beneficial to the nation as it used to be. The next most viable sectors are high-value agriculture and eco-tourism. So, how do you promote eco-tourism when you cull the very animals that tourists are expected to come and watch? The culling policy is motivated by pure greed,” he added.
“What is disheartening is that day-in-day out we hear of one scandal or the other. It is high time that President Lungu brought these scandals to an end. He constitutionally bound to do. We therefore urge him to swiftly move in and stop the prospective curling of the hippos,” Mr. Sinkamba said.