Saturday, September 15, 2007

'No compensation for people killed by animals'

'No compensation for people killed by animals'
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday September 15, 2007 [04:00]

PEOPLE that are being killed by wild animals cannot be compensated because there is no provision for that in the Constitution, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) director general Dr Lewis Saiwana has said. In an interview, Dr Saiwana said the issue of compensating people killed by wild animals has failed in many countries.

Dr Saiwana said it was difficult to assume the value of human life. “How do you compensate a human being killed by an animal? This is impossible because there is no unit that determines the value or cost of human life,” Dr Saiwana said.

“Many countries including Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana have failed to do that.”
He said unless Parliament enacted such a law, ZAWA would not compensate anybody killed by wild animals.

“It is not our fault. This is a matter of law. If there can be an act in our constitution supporting the compensation, then ZAWA will abide by it,” he said.

However, Dr Saiwana said ZAWA would present recommendations to the Ministry of Tourism to ascertain the extent to which the ZAWA Act could be revised.

He said it was important that people were sensitised on the repercussions of illegal hunting.
And asked why ZAWA’s park fees were lower compared to other countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Dr Saiwana said:

“I think there is a lapse on the part of ZAWA. We know that the country is losing billions of money through park fees.

Our fees are far below as compared to even our neighbouring Zimbabwe. This is why we cannot improve on the infrastructure like roads in the national parks. ZAWA is charging as less as US$3 on tourists visiting the national parks and Game Reserve areas.”

Dr Saiwana admitted that Zambia was losing huge sums of money in the wildlife sector.
“The country is not benefiting from the sector as it was supposed to,” said Dr Saiwana.

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