Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has made a passionate appeal to Catholics countrywide to strongly speak out and reject the PF Government’s decision to allow a South African safari company to come and kill 2000 hippos on false allegation of sustainable management wildlife than. Mr. Sinkamba has said culling of wildlife is not an option but a primitive conservation strategy which is driven by greed by a few people in Government.
“I am a Catholic. Our Pope, I mean Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us that destroying the environment is a sin. The proposed culling of 2000 hippos by the PF Government is utterly destruction of environmental resources. It is not only a primitive wildlife conservation strategy but a sin as well,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
“I am hereby appealing to Archbishop Alick Banda, and all catholic priest countrywide to join in and stop this sin which is about to be committed by the PF Government. It will be an extreme act of irresponsibility by the Catholic Church in Zambia to turn a blind eye to the well-known sin which is about to be committed by the PF Government. Actually, it will not only be betrayal of the Pope but a sin as well,” he said.
“I hope from the coming Sunday going forward, the Holy Fathers countrywide will speak about this sin in their homilies,” he added.
Mr. Sinkamba has since 2016 strongly opposed government’s plan to proceed to cull up to 2,000 hippos in the Luangwa Valley, allegedly for overpopulation and threat of anthrax outbreak. The Green Party leader said Zambia needs to learn from other countries such as Kenya and Tanzania on what to do to wildlife when confronted with overpopulation and drought conditions.
“Culling of wildlife Relocation of entrapped animals is one such modern conservation tool. 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.
Mr. Sinkamba has lobbied conservationists worldwide to boycott Zambia as a tourist destination is Government proceeds with the programme.
“Our lobby to boycott Zambia as a tourist destination is going on very well. The response from conservationists globally is quite encouraging. Just wait and see what will happen,” he said.
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.
Issued by The Green Party Media Team