Saturday, November 03, 2007

Explain capturing of animals, chief Shakumbila urges ZAWA

Explain capturing of animals, chief Shakumbila urges ZAWA
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]

CHIEF Shakumbila of Mumbwa district has demanded that Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) management explains why its officers captured more the than 60 animals from the Blue Lagoon National Park. Recently, ZAWA officers captured more than 60 Zebras from the park without the knowledge of the community and chiefs.

In an interview, chief Shakumbila said it was disheartening that ZAWA had ignored community demands to explain the reasons behind the capture of the animals.
Chief Shakumbila said despite writing to ZAWA director Dr Lewis Saiwana on several occasions, no explanation had been given.

“This silence had raised a lot of suspicion among the community and chiefs. The community was not informed about the capture of these animals. We just saw trucks getting into the national park and later out filled with zebras. At first I thought its officials would get back to me and the community to explain on the development but up to date nothing has happened,” chief Shakumbila said.

He reminded ZAWA that wild animals did not belong to the authority but were for the Zambian people and it would be important to be transparent in their management.

“If ZAWA sold the animals, it would be important to tell the nation the truth. And also the community should be given a percentage from what has been realised. This is in line with ZAWA Act,” said chief Shakumbila.

Blue Lagoon resource board chairperson Foster Chikonkoti said he wrote to ZAWA regarding the disappearance of the animals from the park.

And Chikonkoti said the Authority would find it difficult if it did not account for the animals captured from the park.

“We have waited for the explanation for along time and all that the community needs now is action,” said Chikonkoti.

ZAWA public relations affairs officer Wilfred Moonga confirmed the capture of the animals.

“I know chiefs have been wondering about the development, this is because the animals were captured from national park.

We should have asked for permission if it was from the GMA because we work hand-in-hand with the community in that area,” Moonga said.
He said ZAWA had embarked on a restocking exercise throughout the country.
“We took those animals to Lusenga plains. Apart from Zebras, we also captured impalas and pukus from Kafue National Park to Lusenga Plains.

We hope the chiefs and the community will now understand where their animals have been taken to,” he said.
Moonga also confirmed that about eight zebras died during the exercise.

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