HELEN ZULU writes
THE World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Zambia has handed over various equipments worth over K1 million to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to strengthen the delivery of it’s mandate to protect and conserve wildlife.
The donation is focused on the need for DNPW to effectively work in the Kalabo Area Management Unit which covers the Liuwa plains national Park and the Upper West Zambezi Game Management Area (GMA).
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Auxilia Ponga said the donation is a demonstration of Government commitment to working with various partners and stakeholders in promoting conservation and wildlife protection in national parks and GMAs.
Speaking during the handover of various equipments and assets to DNPW in Lusaka yesterday, Ms Ponga said the equipment will go along way in enhancing operations on Liuwa national Park.
She said Liuwa national park is a protected area for safeguarding biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem, preserving important habitats, build resilience to climate change and providing food security, conserving natural resources and driving economic success.
“Liuwa national park has one of the oldest conservation history in Africa and is a perfect example of how people and wildlife can coexist in a shared landscape.
“It is in this regard that on behalf of the ministry of tourism and Arts, I reiterate that this equipment will go along way to effectiveness in the national Park through patrols and monitoring of wildlife,” she said.
Ms Ponga said the equipment would be used for the intended purpose and would be safeguarded.
WWF Zambia country director Nachilala Nkombo said this activity is one of many WWF is partnering with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts and DNPW to assist the country to achieve a diversified tourism sector in the Seventh National Development Plan by strengthening the capacity of the DNPW to manage national parks.
“This handover culminates the efforts aimed at strengthening the capacity through the purchase and donation of equipment estimated at over K1,024,060 for this year alone.
“ Some of the items donated today include toyota land cruiser single cab, radio systems and cyber tracking equipment, motor bikes and camping beds and laptops among other things,” Ms Nkombo said.
She said WWF believed increased public investments in wildlife conservation tourism across the country would double the income generated from the tourism sector and would offer a channel for quick and sustained green recovery effort post Covid-19.
Ms Nkombo reaffirmed WWFs commitment to protected area network in the Upper Zambezi landscape such as Liuwa, West Lunga and Sioma Ngwezi National Parks as these areas held a vast natural capital for Zambia with huge potential for socio-economic development.
She disclosed that WWF’s commitment to Liuwa started as eaely as 2003 through support to the African Parks in strengthening the management of the park and since 2009 WWF had invested over €2 million in support of conservation efforts in the landscape across multiple partners.
DNPW director Dr Chuma Simukonda commended WWF for being a great partner.
“We have had challenges in managing Sioma and I think WWF for recognizing the potential for Sioma Ngwezi National Park, and decided to help in the management of the area. The potential is that it can easily be translated into an economic engine of the country,” he said.
HELEN ZULU writes