By SOLWEZI TODAY REPORTER
FQM Trident Ltd is restocking animals at West Lunga National Park in North-Western Province at the request of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
The company has through its Wildlife Management Team of Trident Foundation Ltd (TFL) conducted a capture and restocking operation for the Park.
Through TFL and following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2014 with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), FQM is a private management partner of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in Zambia.
The MoU was for the protection and rehabilitation of the West Lunga Management Area whose animal population had been depleted due to massive poaching.
Speaking during the release of the first consignment of the animals into the West Lunga National Park, FQM Trident Programme Lead for Wildlife and Forestry Management Dr David Squarre said the initiative by the mining firm to promote wildlife conservation was a unique one.
“The idea is to form within this area a wildlife economy and a community that is aware of the importance of conserving wildlife. We are actually demonstrating that apart from the mining activities, the mining company can support wildlife conservation by bringing together two opposite extreme players. This is a clear demonstration and I think it is the first of its kind where we are actually bringing in two players, that is the mining and wildlife conservation,” Dr Squarre said.
He said supporting wildlife conservation would help local communities optimize the social and economic benefits realized from the mining and ecosystem services from wildlife.
“The decision was actually to bring in animals here so that we can restock the national park as a request from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. What FQM would like to see in future is that this national park becomes sustainable and supported by the community to demonstrate as an example of what public-private partnership would bring,” he said.
Dr Squarre said FQM Trident had incorporated the West Lunga National Park as part of its corporate social responsibility and was providing technical support to the law enforcement officers such as provision of equipment, uniforms, food rations and fuel among others.
FQM Trident has donated 40 impala to the DNPW which were released into the West Lunga National Park in North-Western Province. The team also restocked the Ntambu Community Game Ranch with three male eland and six sable antelopes.
The animals were captured from the Trident Wildlife Sanctuary which is adjacent to the Mine, harbouring 13 animal species that were introduced for breeding purposes.
Dr Squarre said the mine, working together with DNPW had established adequate security around the 11,000 square metre-plus national park so that the animals could multiply as part of the restoration programme for the West Lunga National Park to restore its ecological function.
And DNPW representative, Michael Phiri who is a wildlife police officer stationed at Jivundu Wildlife Camp, thanked FQM Trident for its support in terms of law enforcement at one of the biggest national parks in the country.
“The national park was depleted and we are very grateful to the mine for conceiving the idea of bringing in animals for restocking,” Phiri said. Story courtesy of Suma Systems.