OPPOSITION LEADER DISCOURAGES GOVERNMENT FROM CULLING HIPPOS

ZAMBIA: WILDLIFE/LUSAKA TIMES/24/5/18 SABANews 1

North Luangwa National Park hippos (Pic. Agencies)

LUSAKA – The opposition GREEN PARTY President PETER SINKAMBA of ZAMBIA has urged the government to abandon plans to kill hippos in the LUANGWA Valley.

He says there are more civilized ways for sustainable management of wildlife than culling, which he describes as a primitive conservation strategy.

The LUSAKA TIMES newspaper says Mr SINKAMBA has been reacting to news about alleged State plans to proceed with an aborted 2016 program.

It says the government scheme had aimed to get rid of some TWO-THOUSAND hippos in the LUANGWA Valley, allegedly for overpopulation.

However, the GREEN PARTY Leader says ZAMBIA needs to learn from other countries like KENYA and TANZANIA about actions to take when faced with wildlife overpopulation and drought conditions.

Mr SINKAMBA says relocation of entrapped animals is ONE modern conservation tool, but the trouble with the PATRIOTIC FRONT Government is lack of leadership with environmental consciousness.

He says what is more appalling is the LUANGWA Valley is not overpopulated as the authorities claim, because the hippo numbers have dropped by about 14 to 20 percent in the last 20 years.

The LUANGWA Valley has THREE national parks including SOUTH LUANGWA National Park, NORTH LUANGWA National Park, and LUAMBE National Park.

Mr SINKAMBA says it is not the only game park in ZAMBIA, which has about 20 national parks and more than 30 game reserves, most of which, in fact, require restocking.

He says a serious environmentally conscious government will opt for relocation than culling, just like nations such as KENYA and TANZANIA relocate their animals when conditions dictate.

Mr SINKAMBA says hippos are not exclusively for LUANGWA Valley, as they can easily be relocated and live anywhere in other parts of the country.

He has offered to help the government organise resources like he has done in the COPPERBELT Environment Project and ZAMBIA Environmental Restoration Project.

Mr SINKAMBA says the State needs to realise mining has run its race and is no longer as beneficial to the nation as it used to be; which makes high-value agriculture and eco-tourism the next most viable sectors.

The ZAMBIAN opposition political leader says the culling policy is motivated by pure greed, because how can you promote eco-tourism when you cull the very animals tourists are expected to come and watch?/Sabanews/cam

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