Conservationist Nsama Learns has appealed to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Authority whose mandate is to protect Zambia’s wildlife species to make the ecological assessment report public for review on whether Langani and Kiwisoko private ranches in Chisamba and Kazungula are suitable for the habitation of the Black Lechwe.
And Ms Learns has further appealed to the department to permit interested parties to conduct independent assessments to verify if indeed the two establishments have the same ecological environment as that of the Bangweulu wetlands.
She said as conservationist whose objective is to Care for Nature, she is extremely worried and disturbed by the mention of Chisamba and Kazungula because these areas lie in ecological regions of Zambia that have been experiencing no to less rainfall due to climate change.
“We all know for sure that climate change affects healthy functioning of ecosystem therefore it will be relieving to see what safeguards have been recommended in the report in case of drought or heat waves because the specie in particular is semi aquatic and feeds on aquatic plants”, she said.
She said the Black Lechwe loves water and when threatened, they stand in deep water completely submerged leaving only their nostrils exposed.
Ms Learns said the Black Lechwes are good swimmers and they run faster in water than dry land which is why in the dry season they migrate for up-to 80 kilometers in search for flooded areas.
“Surely Zambians my concern is not from without, this is not just any other antelope like impala, Kudu, sitatunga, sessebe or water buck, we are looking at a one kind of rare breed which we can’t treat like flying ants’ inswa nangu inshunkonono which appear and disappear from nowhere! This is a IUCN Red List specie”, she added.
Ms Learns said she is spending sleepless nights wondering how the animals felt when they just arrived in the new habitat tired and exhausted from the long journey wondering whether they found water immediately.
“Remember the first time you left your parents, sisters and brothers to go on holiday, that grave feeling of loneliness or when you first shifted from the area where you grew up, how long it takes to adapt, days, months and years will pass but still your dreams will take you back where you grew up”, Ms Learns lamented.
“If anyone is feeling my pain and that of the 80 Lechwe you are welcome to read the report and visit their new home to ensure they are safe. As for now I will continue praying for their safety”, she added.